Eaglecrest Master Plan is out for public comment

Hooter Lift at Eaglecrest

The Eaglecrest Master Plan is out. Now it’s time for public comments.

The plan will be used by the Board of Directors to guide development for the city-owned ski area over the next 20 years. It summarizes results of a telephone and an Internet survey, public comments, and consultant research.

Jim Calvin of the Juneau-based McDowell Group research firm was the lead consultant. He says development opportunities laid out in the plan are filtered through several fundamental realities.

“Eaglecrest is first and foremost a wintertime recreation area and we don’t want to do anything in the way of development, either summer or winter, that jeopardizes that basic mission,” he says. “There are other guiding forces we have to keep in mind such as Juneau has relatively limited access and limited potential for significant population growth.”

The draft plan includes other “cautionary messages of let’s not get ahead of ourselves in terms of what we’d like to do,” he says.

It outlines summer and winter activities and facilities identified through the planning process. They include a mountain trail network, remote cabins, and a mountain-bike skills park in summer as well as lodge improvements, a winter terrain park, and night skiing in winter.

The area used to offer night skiing, but it became an expensive operation for few users. Calvin says the ideas laid out in the master plan would enhance users’ experience at Eaglecrest, but all have cost implications.

“It’s something for the board and management to consider, going very slowly and thinking of creative ways to test the markets for these kinds of things,” he says.

A public meeting on the draft Eaglecrest Ski Area Master Plan plan is scheduled for March 28th. Calvin says consultants will not be making a presentation; instead they’ll be there to listen.

Written public comments will be accepted through March 30th.