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Aerial View of Northstar

The Northstar Habitat Management Plan

The Promised Land

Northstar completed 56 acres of ski area improvements during Summer 2011 implementing Northstar Habitat Management Plan design guidelines and construction management practices.

Project Components Included:

  • New Doppelmayr detachable quad, Promised Land Express. (2400 pph, Vertical Rise: 1450')
  • Three new intermediate trails
    1. The Islands: 22 tree islands, 300 ft. wide, 1,400 vertical ft.
    2. Castle Peak: 240 ft. wide, 1,400 vertical feet
    3. Drifter Connector: Cat track for circulation
  • 43.6 acres of additional snowmaking coverage on the new Castle Peak run and the existing Drifter Run.

Design & Construction Practices Included the Following:

  • The project avoided impacts to wetlands and surface waters. The ski lift spans the Schaffer Creek corridor and Castle Peak ski run was designed to avoid impacts to wetlands associated with the creek corridor. Tree removal adjacent to sensitive areas was performed with a helicopter during winter snow coverage to avoid impacts.
  • The Promised Land project incorporated ski trail treatments of feathering, tree islands, and glading to improve visual quality. The ski runs were feathered and shaped (i.e. curved) to avoid strictly vertical trail edges and to soften the visual appearance of the trails. Tree islands were designed on "The Islands" trail to improve visual quality and provide terrain diversity. Additionally, glading between the trails was performed utilizing forest health protocols that allowed for enhanced tree skiing, and to soften the views of the project. The lift line was also feathered to soften its visual appearance.


Ski Runs

Ski runs were sited to reduce trail grading and disturbance. To minimize ski run grading impacts and earth disturbance, the resort implemented "pluck and chuck" methodology which identified spot areas on the ski runs requiring treatment (slope undulations, rocks, stumps). Only areas identified for treatment were disturbed by excavation. The remainder of the ski runs were left undisturbed with the soil profile in place and the ski run surface stabilized by woody material from mastication and chipping operations.

Tree Removal

Tree removal was performed with a wheeled timber harvester, a wheeled timber forwarder, and a wheeled timber forwarder with a rear-mounted chipper. Utilizing this equipment minimized tree removal disturbance as skid roads were nearly eliminated along with the associated compaction and soil disturbance resulting from skidding. The equipment enabled the trees to be cut and either hauled offsite or chipped onsite. Non-merchantable material was left chipped on the ski runs or log landings for use in revegetation and erosion control.

Revegetation

Full revegetation treatments were performed on compacted and disturbed areas. Treatments included incorporating woodchips into the soil during the soil loosening process. Soil was loosened to a depth of approximately 12" to promote infiltration. Biosol fertilizer, seed, and mulch were then applied to the disturbed area by hand or hydraulic application. Through soil loosening and woodchip application, the ski run surface was left with woody debris and a rough surface of undulations which functions to slow and interrupt water flow thereby preventing soil erosion and promoting infiltration of water during a runoff event.

Surveys

Wildlife pre-construction surveys were performed prior to project operations to avoid direct impacts to wildlife species.

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