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Randito
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Randito
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PostWed Jun 01, 2022 9:24 am 
altasnob wrote:
Crystal has set up a bunch of canvas "glamping" tents at 6,000 feet around Cambell Basin lodge so Amazon and Microsoft can hold corporate retreats there. Since it is National Forest Land, there is nothing they can do if someone wants to go pitch their tent in the middle of the camp. https://crystalskycamp.com/
Wouldn't that be akin to setting up a tent in-between campsites at a USFS car camping campground? I'm pretty just the CFR does provide administrative rules to limit camping to designated sites in campgrounds.

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altasnob
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PostWed Jun 01, 2022 3:06 pm 
But it's not a campground, so I don't see how any CFR campground rules apply. Crystal is placing these temporary structures all over Cambell Basin, near the bottom of Chair 6/High Cambell. They are also advertising guided fly fishing at nearby Elizabeth Pond and guided forest foraging. Ironic that Crystal is pushing fly fishing where as on the other side of the ridge Rainier park is removing non-native fish from their ponds and lakes to return the environment to a more natural setting where frogs and salamanders thrive. Since Crystal does not have exclusive use over these public lands, I assume you can camp right next to these glamping camps if that is what you want to do, just like you can camp anywhere else on National Forest lands unless a sign specifically says you can't. I hope the Forest Service is getting a cut of the revenue derived from this commercialization of our lands. They get a cut of lift ticket revenue but I am not sure about lodging/glamping.

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Randito
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 7:17 am 
altasnob wrote:
But it's not a campground, so I don't see how any CFR campground rules apply. Crystal is placing these temporary structures all over Cambell Basin, near the bottom of Chair 6/High Cambell. They are also advertising guided fly fishing at nearby Elizabeth Pond and guided forest foraging. Ironic that Crystal is pushing fly fishing where as on the other side of the ridge Rainier park is removing non-native fish from their ponds and lakes to return the environment to a more natural setting where frogs and salamanders thrive. Since Crystal does not have exclusive use over these public lands, I assume you can camp right next to these glamping camps if that is what you want to do, just like you can camp anywhere else on National Forest lands unless a sign specifically says you can't. I hope the Forest Service is getting a cut of the revenue derived from this commercialization of our lands. They get a cut of lift ticket revenue but I am not sure about lodging/glamping.
Xtal would have to have a special use permit from the usfs for the glamping setup. If you are so confident that the permit holder has no authority to administrate the lands within their permit boundary, by all means go set up a tent and try them out and become a test case!! For that matter, if you truly believe they have no administrative authority in the glamping setup area, why not just occupy one of those fancy tents?

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altasnob
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 10:53 am 
I'm not saying this is illegal or that Crystal doesn't have a permit to do what they are doing. Just making the public knowledgeable about the fact that Crystal has greatly expanded their commercial operations into the summer season. They are also doing a good job of doing what I always feared they would do-completely take over the public's land. Sure the public can hike and ski through Crystal. But who would want to, particularly now that you would be hiking through their corporate glamping setup. I also think most members of the public would not agree to lease private land to a company so that company can make a profit hosting corporate retreats on the public's land. Crystal operates on the land as if they owned it outright.

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JonnyQuest
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 12:23 pm 
altasnob wrote:
I also think most members of the public would not agree to lease private land to a company so that company can make a profit
How is this so much different than wintertime operations? You can still access the public / FS land "for free". Any fee is for utilization of infrastructure they provide and operate on said public land under the lease agreement with the FS. I'm not saying there's not an argument to be made either way. Just that it would be cherry-picking to limit the "profit from public land" argument to just the High Camp Glamping.

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altasnob
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 12:34 pm 
Back in 1962 when Crystal opened, and the concept of leasing public land to for profit ski ares was introduced, the public had no problem with this concept. There wasn't much demand for other winter uses of the land, and without this agreement, we wouldn't have ski areas in Washington. Fast forward to today and recreational lands are in tremendous demand. Particularly in the summer time when people are hiking, biking, horse riding, ect. Did the public know what they were getting into when they agreed to open up their lands in the 1960s? Would the public have the same sentiment knowing that in addition to ski areas, these companies would be building zip line courses and have sprawling glamping setups across the public's land? I have hiked, and biked, at Crystal in the summer and it historically has been a good place to escape the masses. Walking through a glamping setup high on a mountainside does detract from my enjoyment of the public's land.

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Randito
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 12:59 pm 
The USFS leases numerous USFS lands for "private use" e.g. Camp Wahoo in the Teanaway is permitted to a horse wrangler to run a camp for people to enjoy Horse back riding , Camp Shepard along HWY-410 is leased to the Boy Scouts , numerous cabin sites around Snoqualmie pass, Stevens pass, White Pass , along the shores of Lake Wenatchee and many many more are leased to private individuals and they have built cabins and even houses on the leased land. AltaSnob your reaction is like the concept of the USFS leasing land to individuals or corporations is some sort of brand new thing -- instead of something that being going on for decades.

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altasnob
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 1:18 pm 
All of the examples you site are leased to a non-profit or have strict rules that they have to remain primitive in nature. Go take a look at those USFS leased cabins at Lake Wenatchee and Bumping Lake. They look essentially the same as they did in 1960. They also aren't a brand new idea with no historical precedent, and at 6000 ft in a pristine wildflower filled meadow just a stones throw away from wilderness. Then there is Crystal, owned by multi-billion dollar Alterra, with their sprawling bourgeoisie shanty town so Jeff Bezos and his pals can go have a good time. This makes me want to vomit:

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Randito
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 1:50 pm 
Newsflash The Ahwahnee in Yosemite is operated by Aramark corporation and charges a mere $589 per night. The Paradise Inn and National Park inn in Mt Rainier National park are operated by a corporate "consessionare" -- so are Lake Quinault Lodge and Lake Crescent Lodge over in Olympic National Park. Yet you are amazed that Xtal is able to setup some glamping tents in the shadow of chairlift cables. One of the reasons that Xtal expanded their permit to allow them to build a larger mountain top lodge and a gondola to service it is to make it a more accessable wedding venue. Their wedding venue business has been booked years in advance since the gondola went into operation. The hotel accomidations at xtal's base area are rather small -- so adding some glamping space seems like natural expansion of overnigh capacity to service all the wedding guests.

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altasnob
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 1:59 pm 
Now you're using examples from the National Park Service. We are talking about the National Forest Service. This isn't a historical lodge, owned by the government, that the government uses a concessionaire to manage. Crystal never expanded their permit. They've had the same permit since 2001. The special use permit expires in 2032. The master plan approved by the Forest Service in 2004 approved of all the recent construction announcements they have made, including the remodeled summit house.

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kiliki
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 2:06 pm 
I see both sides of this. I don't make a habit of hiking around ski areas in summer. It's pretty unattractive with the lift towers and cut ski runs. Plus there's the noise from the gondola and any construction (there will be a lot this summer) which you can even hear on the PCT in that area. But I'm leery of letting corporations expand more onto public land given how much competition for easily accessible space there is these days. I'd be interested in knowing what Alterra or the camp operator are paying in concession fees for the camp. I'm not familiar with USFS concession fee structures. I hope it's substantial but I am guessing it is not.

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Randito
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Randito
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PostThu Jun 02, 2022 3:29 pm 
altasnob wrote:
Crystal never expanded their permit. They've had the same permit since 2001. The special use permit expires in 2032. The master plan approved by the Forest Service in 2004 approved of all the recent construction announcements they have made, including the remodeled summit house.
The ssme permit expansion that allowed building the gondola and the Northway chair. It may not have been a permit expansion in the last few years, but it was and is a permit expansion. Similarly it was well over a decade ago that the Summit was approved a permit expansion to build the International Chair, recently the Summit announced plans to build the thing by 2030.

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jaysway
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PostMon Jun 06, 2022 6:20 pm 
In practice, the Crystal Sky Camp doesn't bother me. If anything, this feels like a great location for such a thing as it's in a basin with a lodge and two chairlifts that doesn't have wilderness character and is pretty secluded. Additionally, it's probably barely visible from the PCT and isn't visible from the top of Crystal Mountain. It's not even clear to me if it would be visible from this loop trail that goes near it. I would have more of a problem if the camp was at the bottom of Powder Bowl where it would be visible from Crystal Peak. On the other hand, I get being upset at the principle of a company making money from setting up a private glamping experience on public land. Do they have a separate permit from the USFS to do this or is this included in their general use permit for the land that includes their skiing and other summer privileges? Alta, I wouldn't be surprised if technically you could walk through and set up your own tent in the area? But other than doing that for the principle of this, why would you? Again, this feels like a pretty out-of-the-way spot and feels as close to ideal as you can get for something like this. In thinking about this issue, I will say I was very surprised at the number of people who hike Crystal in the summer as evidenced by the number of ratings on the loop I mentioned earlier and the peak trail in AllTrails. I would have guessed that just about the only people hiking in Crystal's skiing permit area were people on the PCT but clearly there are plenty of people hiking closer to the ski lifts, although it's not clear that people are hiking in Campbell Basin where the camp is.

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Stefan
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PostMon Jun 06, 2022 7:15 pm 
who maintains the trails around the Crystal mountain area? Crystal or the Forest Service? I don't know....but as a public person, I would like to see the private sector taking over the responsibility of maintaining the trails for the public use and not private use.

Art is an adventure.
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altasnob
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PostMon Jun 06, 2022 7:50 pm 
jaysway wrote:
Do they have a separate permit from the USFS to do this or is this included in their general use permit for the land that includes their skiing and other summer privileges?
I don't know. I skimmed through their 2004 Master Development Plans and EIS and did not see anything about luxury camping in Cambell Basin. I have asked the Forest Service this question and will report back what I find.
jaysway wrote:
Alta, I wouldn't be surprised if technically you could walk through and set up your own tent in the area? But other than doing that for the principle of this, why would you? Again, this feels like a pretty out-of-the-way spot and feels as close to ideal as you can get for something like this.
I understand why Crystal picked this location. Your glamping experience includes "exclusive use of Crystal Mountain Resortís Campbell Basin Lodge", which provides guests a bathroom. And don't worry about hiking up the mountain as Crystal is firing up the Chinook express and Forest Queen express chairlifts to whisk people to the high alpine. I would have less of a problem with this if it was at the base of the mountain, or if it just has to be in Campbell Basin, at least keep the tents around the lodge rather than sprawling across the wildflower meadows. I find the ski runs at Crystal to have as spectacular wild flowers as anywhere. The guests and the daily housecleaning service tromping across the meadows to get to these glamping tents will have a tremendous affect on the flora. There are 28 tents that accommodate up to 70 guests. Each tent has a wood stove (who said you can't have fires above 5,000 ft). And they apparently have temporary shower facilities set up. There are no showers in Cambell Lodge so I would be curious what they are doing. Where does the waste water from these showers go? Where does the water come from? What I really don't like about what Crystal is doing is they are slowly taking over the entire valley, winter and summer. It used to be a sleepy ski area in the summer. Soon, it will be like Squaw Valley or Mammoth (same owner) and all the other mega resorts in the West. You are right, people don't hike near Campbell Basin because they figure the land has already been conquered by Crystal, and that is a shame. Crystal is also offering guided horse back riding to Bullion Basin. They have set up a stable in Upper C lot and turned the Bullion Basin trail into a dusty mess. We might as well cede ownership of these lands to Crystal and put up a giant gate at the bottom of 410. The place is private country club.

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