“The proposal became a distraction”
By Kristy Acuff
Eleven Experience and Scarp Ridge, LLC removed its application to Gunnison County to build a helicopter landing area on its property above Lake Irwin last week, bringing to an end the proposal that generated a host of negative reactions from community members.
“The proposal for limited flights to our private property at Irwin became a distraction,” wrote Jake Jones, Eleven’s managing director. “We decided to focus our energy on projects that enhance Eleven’s commitment to providing low-volume experiential travel throughout our global portfolio of lodges.”
Eleven’s proposal to the county sought permission for clients to fly helicopters directly to Eleven’s land above Lake Irwin during the winter, at most four times a month. The company cited “convenience” for clients as the main reason to allow helicopter landing at the snowcat barn above Lake Irwin because it would prevent clients from having to land in Gunnison and then travel by car and snowcat to access the snowcat skiing.
Citizens throughout the upper valley voiced strong opposition to the proposal from its inception, citing disruption to wildlife, peace and quiet and the precedent of disturbing the community for the benefit of a few clients.
High County Conservation Advocates (HCCA) applauded Eleven’s decision to stop the proposal.
“Regular commercial helicopter flights are not compatible with established uses in the Irwin area, with public lands values, or with wildlife and wildlife habitat,” wrote Matt Reed, HCCA’s director of public lands.
“HCCA had concerns with noise, wilderness impacts, and lynx, and we are glad that the proposal was pulled.”
Eleven has no plans to revisit the helicopter landing area proposal in the future. “We will continue to support the incredible people and businesses in Crested Butte while remaining focused on opportunities to grow the concept of low-volume tourism outside of Gunnison County,” wrote Jones.