Eaglecrest master plan public meeting

Lovely Eaglecrest Day, 2011

How will Eaglecrest look 20 years from now? Will the city-owned ski area be bigger? Will there be cabins and condominiums, restaurants and bars?

Will summer cruise ship tourists put it on their agenda during their few hours in port?

A host of “what if’s” are under consideration in a long-range master plan being prepared to guide area development over the next 20 years.

Jim Calvin of Juneau’s McDowell Group is heading up the research. He says the master plan will look at the opportunities now available to Eaglecrest that would get more people enjoying the mountain.

“”It also will develop a set of criteria the board can use in 5, 10, or 15 years to evaluate proposals in light of what the community considers to be compatible uses of Eaglecrest that are consistent with how the community values Eaglecrest today,” Calvin says.

The study has been underway since August, beginning with a random telephone survey of 450 Juneau households and an assessment of the Juneau market, inclulding demographics, Calvin says.

“What are the demographics in terms of age and income? And what do other analysts and what do we see in terms of future population growth?”

In the last three years, Eaglecrest has added one new lift and replaced the platter pull with a chairlift. A gravel road winds to the top of the mountain, a major improvement for the summer hiking and biking crowd. Calvin says much of the master plan work is studying the potential summer visitor market.

“How non-residents spend their time when they’re here and how much they spend for the various excursions they enjoy while they’re in Juneau,” Calvin explains.

McDowell Group is working with the international ski area planning firm SE Group. The organization has worked with ski areas all over the country and has seen what works and doesn’t work, especially summertime development.

The Eaglecrest study team will present what they’ve learned so far at a public meeting on Wednesday, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., at Centennial Hall.

Calvin says people will want to hear SE Group’s presentation on summer and winter developments that have been successful at other ski areas. 

SE Group also is putting together displays on potential activities to expand resident and visitor use at Eaglecrest, such as new hiking and mountain biking trails.

Jan Caulfield is facilitating tomorrow’s public meeting, the first of two on the master plan.

“We’re really hoping the evening will get people thinking and coming in with written comments at a later date,” Caulfield says. “We’re asking people to submit comments by the end of November that we can work with during the planning process.”

The information gleaned so far by the study group will be presented tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7 p.m., followed by questions and the displays. Another public meeting will be held in February.

Caulfield says Juneau residents also should take an online survey asking what types of development Juneau residents would like to see at their mountain. It can be found at http://skijuneau.com.