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Congress votes to open up ski areas on federal land for more uses, including eight in Washington

Post by Rob Hotakainen on Oct. 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm | No Comments »
October 19, 2011 2:05 pm

WASHINGTON — If you’ve ever dreamed of a summer wedding at a ski area on federal lands, then today is your lucky day.

Following the lead of the House, the Senate voted late Tuesday night to approve the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, which will allow ski areas in national forests to be used for much more than skiing.

According to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D- Washington, one of the bill’s cosponsors, new activities could include mountain biking, “expanded scenic opportunities,” summit hiking, and “expanded hospitality opportunities” such as restaurants and summer weddings.

She said eight ski areas in Washington state will benefit: Crystal Mountain, Snoqualmie Pass, White Pass, Mt. Baker, Stevens Pass, 49 Degrees North near Chewelah, Mission Ridge near (Wenatchee and Ski Bluewood near Walla Walla.

Cantwell said the legislation should help the state’s tourism industry by attracting more visitors to the skiing areas and creating more jobs in local communities. The legislation is headed to President Barack Obama for his signature.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray

Horseback trips are one of several alternative recreation activities Crystal Mountain promotes during the off-season. (Drew Perine/The News Tribune)
, D-Washington, was a cosponsor.

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