Some of the best news for Central Oregon’s economy was delivered recently by the Deschutes National Forest.
Forest Supervisor John Allen approved a planned expansion of Mt. Bachelor ski area.
Even if you don’t ski, snowboard, tube, skate-ski or cross-country ski, a Bachelor expansion is good.
Bachelor makes this area more of a winter destination. More amenities, more trails and improved lifts add up to a better Bachelor experience. Those changes help keep down ski and snowboard density, which is important for enjoyment and safety.
The changes include more opportunities on the mountain’s leeward side. That should improve windy days at the mountain. And Bachelor is trying to lure more summer visitors, too, with new hiking trails, downhill biking trails and a zip-line course.
Bachelor’s success means more tourists, and that helps the area’s cash registers ring.
There were really no major hiccups to the expansion. A planned road was relocated to protect a sensitive fungus (Ramaria rubrievanescen). There were other minor changes.
But there is still an appeal process on the expansion that lasts until April 1.
No appeals had been filed as of Wednesday afternoon. The Forest Service says appeals tend to be filed near the deadline.
Dave Rathbun, Mt. Bachelor’s president and general manager, has been appropriately cautious about breaking out the champagne. Many ski area development plans do get appealed.
But one important aspect of the plan to remember is that all of the planned improvements are being done within the 8,122-acre boundary of the current ski area.
It’s not going to take up more public land. Bachelor, in that sense, would not be getting bigger, just better.