Lakeside Lodge EA open for public comment
Lakeside Lodge resort and marina has operated on the southern shore of Fremont Lake since the 1950s.
30 day public comment period
January 3, 2006
The Pinedale Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) has released the second go-around for their Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Lakeside Lodge Resort Master Development Plan (MDP). The public has 30 days to make comments on the EA.
Comment period runs 30 days from the date of the Legal Notice posted in the Casper Star-Tribune for this assessment. EA information packets were mailed last week to people who requested to be on the Pinedale Ranger District mailing list as interested parties for this project.
Lakeside Lodge Resort and Marina is located on the southern end of Fremont Lake, approximately three miles northeast of Pinedale. The resort operates on National Forest land under a Special Use Permit issued by the BTNF since the early 1950s. The current owners have operated the facilities under permit since 1994. The 19-acre permit area includes some Fremont Lake shoreline, a marina with boat slips, a two-story restaurant, lakeside cabins and motel, a bath house, a boat trailer storage area and an RV campground.
The project has been on the table since 2001. In 2004, the Forest Service released their first EA on the Lakeside Lodge expansion proposals for public comment and issued a Decision Notice approving the project in late 2004. The Decision was appealed, causing the BTNF to rework the EA to respond to public comments raising issues about water quality, cultural resources and social impacts. The Forest Service worked with Lakeside Lodge/High Plains Marina Inc to develop a new MDP proposal based on current and projected public need as well as environmental concerns.
The revised EA analyzes the environmental effects of the Proposed Action and two Alternatives to the Proposed Action. The Preferred Alternative is the Proposed Action, which would allow the resort to operate year round, with limited services during the winter season. It also would permit building modifications and upgrades.
The Proposed Action would allow Lakeside Lodge to expand their operations to year-round, with reduced services over the winter months. It would also allow them to construct new facilities on the premises and rearrange some of the building locations and purposes. The resort wants to build a new, separate two-story, 25-unit lodge, and expand their existing restaurant. Plans also include construction of a 20-site RV campground, a covered Pavilion for group functions, additional boat slips and removable floating breakwater, and more guest cabins.
The main season of operation will continue to be the summer months from May to October. During the winter season, the resort would be open providing reduced services for the restaurant, some overnight lodging in the lodge and guest cabins, and continuing the popular winter ice fishing derby sponsored by Lakeside Lodge and the Pinedale Boat Club.
Major issues for this project are for water quality of Fremont Lake; cultural resources in and near the permit area; visual quality along Fremont Lake; road safety and maintenance of access roads; impacts to the forest visitor recreation experience; and wildlife migration routes and winter range impacts.
In 2005, the Forest Service received many public comments about issues related to this project. The new EA takes another look at those comments and issues, addressing the major concerns and outlining mitigation measures and changes in the Proposed Action to address raised concerns.
Since Fremont Lake is the municipal water supply for the Town of Pinedale, lake water quality concerns are some of the big concerns raised by the public and concerned entities. Lakeside Lodge is required to operate under strict water quality guidelines and permits and the lake is regularly tested for water quality. The resort will also be required to implement a storm water pollution prevention and spill response plan. In addition, a strict pet policy will require pets be excluded from near the lakeshore and pet waste to be picked up daily. The EA goes into lengthy detail analyzing water quality issues and proposed mitigation with the Proposed Action and Alternatives.
In response to public concern that Lakeside Lodge operations and expansion would result in loss of lakeshore access for the general public, the Forest Service modified their permit area boundaries in 2005 to eliminate an area directly adjacent to the Sandy Beach Swim Area. The boundary change removed approximately 75 feet of Fremont Lake shoreline from their permit area.
Copies of the Lakeside Lodge EA can be obtained from the Pinedale Ranger District office, or contact Cindy Stein or District Ranger Craig Trulock at 307-367-4326. Written comments can be mailed to Pinedale Ranger District, PO Box 220, Pinedale, WY 82941, Attn: Lakeside Lodge EA Comments.
Comments can also be made by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be considered, commenters need to address specific facts and give supporting reasons that can be considered. Commenters must include their name, mailing address, telephone number, organization represented (if any).
Comments and names of commenters will be included in the final public record. Anonymous comments will be accepted and considered, but will not have standing for subsequent legal appeals.
Lakeside Lodge Resort & Marina
BTNF Projects & Plans Includes Lakeside Lodge comments & Decision Notice
2004 article, Lakeside Lodge Expansion EA available for public review (Pinedale Online, May 2005)