A proposed “mountain coaster” project at the Sandia Peak Ski Area in the Sandia Ranger District is in planning stages—and the U.S. Forest Service wants to hear from the public.

Since February, people have been weighing in on the proposed development. A public comment period is underway through March 20, although comments from the public will still be accepted after that, according to the Forest Service.

Public comment on the Forest Service’s website appears to be pretty evenly divided between pro and con, with over 400 comments submitted so far.

“Despite some of the other comments, very many of us in ABQ feel a real need for more year round recreation, including a mountain coaster, however, this thing looks like a kiddie-ride compared to other mountain coasters. If NM is going to do this, don’t half it!,” wrote Ermund Korolla. He also said the coaster should take people to the main ski building.

“I am against the proposed ‘mountain rollercoaster.’ I am an avid runner and hiker. I grew up running in these mountains. I believe the coaster will create larger amounts of litter and trash from visitors that are not there to enjoy nature but instead go to an amusement park. The coaster will also create large amounts of noise that will disturb the people and wildlife. I have been to coasters like these and they do not promote a connection to their environment but instead are tourist traps. Increased use of the mountain by tourists will only drive the locals off and rob them of their connections to nature. I will gladly pay more service fees to protect our forest from cheap thrills,” wrote Chris Bratton.

“I live on the on the east side of the Sandia Mountains and am not in support of a mountain coaster,” wrote Lisa Westfall. She said she thought there would be a negative impact on traffic, wildlife and residents who live in the area, and also create more fire risk because it would put more traffic in the forest.

Another East Mountain resident liked the idea of the coaster and suggested that the traffic issue might be eased by allowing access to from both sides of the Sandias, not just from the tram.

The proposed project area would be at the Sandia Peak Ski Area, near the Sandia Peak Tramway top terminal. This project proposal was developed to increase multi-seasonal recreational opportunities there.

Information regarding this project is available at fs.usda.gov, and an interactive viewer is also available at arcg.is/1mLXfi.

Comments will be accepted at any time. However, those posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be able to be given full consideration. Comments received by March 30 will be most helpful during the scoping process, the Forest Service said.

Written comments may be submitted to Crystal Powell, District Ranger, Sandia Ranger District, Cibola National Forest, 11776 Hwy 337, Tijeras, NM, 87059, Attention: Bryan West


Electronic comments, including attachments, can be submitted to cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=56985

The Forest Service asks those commenting to include name, address, telephone number, and organization represented, if applicable. Comments should be clear, concise, and relevant to the analysis of the documents.

For more information, contact the project leader Bryan West at bryan.west@usda.gov or 303-275-5276.