Owners of Lutsen ski resort pausing expansion project

The owners of Lutsen Mountains ski resort have put a hold on the proposed $60 million expansion onto 550 acres of Superior National Forest land.

The expansion would have doubled the resort’s downhill ski and snowboard capacity but encountered criticism from various environmental groups.

According to Charlotte Skinner, chief of staff and CFO of Midwest Family Ski Resorts, the Forest Service recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chippewa Tribes that are party to the 1854 Treaty.

“This MOU is a great step forward in support of a strong partnership between the Forest Service and the Tribes and is something that will set a new precedent from how things have been done in the past,” Skinner said. “The request for a delay in the decision comes on the heels of this MOU getting signed and put into place, which we are in full support of as it will shift to honor Tribal and Treaty rights in our region. We wish this shift had occurred years before we submitted our proposal.”

Skinner also added, “Given that the MOU is new, we have decided that our proposal should be refreshed under the principles established in that agreement. This will take time for us to collaborate with the parties to the 1854 Treaty – the USFS and the Chippewa Tribes – as we wish to come up with a modified proposal that includes a clear net benefit for the Tribes’ “retained rights” under the 1854 Treaty. As we have not had the time to engage in this process, with the MOU and its principles being so new, and since we expect that this process will, and should, require significant time, we have asked for a delay to take the time that is needed to find a solution that will benefit the Tribes, the community and the public.”