The butterfly fight ends; Vegas area ski area for access to bike trails

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This photo provided by the Center for Biological Diversity and taken on June 22, 2021 at Lee Canyon Ski Area in southern Nevada shows the endangered Mount Charleston blue butterfly.  The conservation group and owners of the Lee Canyon resort town said Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, they have settled a dispute in federal court that blocked plans to build a mountain <a class=bike park on steep terrain. home to the endangered species. (Patrick Donnelly/Center for Biological Diversity via AP)” title=”This photo provided by the Center for Biological Diversity and taken on June 22, 2021 at Lee Canyon Ski Area in southern Nevada shows the endangered Mount Charleston blue butterfly. The conservation group and owners of the Lee Canyon resort town said Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, they have settled a dispute in federal court that blocked plans to build a mountain bike park on steep terrain. home to the endangered species. (Patrick Donnelly/Center for Biological Diversity via AP)” loading=”lazy”/>

This photo provided by the Center for Biological Diversity and taken on June 22, 2021 at Lee Canyon Ski Area in southern Nevada shows the endangered Mount Charleston blue butterfly. The conservation group and owners of the Lee Canyon resort town said Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, they have settled a dispute in federal court that blocked plans to build a mountain bike park on steep terrain. home to endangered species. (Patrick Donnelly/Center for Biological Diversity via AP)

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A conservation group and a ski resort in southern Nevada said Tuesday they have settled a federal lawsuit that blocked plans to create a mountain bike park on steep terrain home to the Mount Charleston blue butterfly, a species endangered.

The Lee Canyon resort said the agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity would allow it to build and open up to three mountain bike trails by August in the Spring Mountains resort less than one hour drive from Las Vegas.

By next year, plans call for about 12 miles (19 kilometers) of downhill bike paths served by chairlifts.

“For years, we’ve worked with local scientists and conservation groups to ensure our bike park design minimizes environmental impact,” said resort general manager Dan Hooper, in a press release. “We are proud of the time we have invested and the knowledge we have acquired.

Patrick Donnelly, Nevada State Director of the Center for Biological Diversity, highlighted Lee Canyon’s commitment to invest $250,000 over the next five years in University of Nevada, Las Vegas butterfly research. rare, its habitat and its conservation.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that both protects these butterflies and funds research to put them on the path to recovery,” Donnelly said.

He credited Professor Daniel Thompson of UNLV with helping both sides devise plans to prevent harm to current and future populations of the insects, which are blue-gray in color, less than an inch (2 .5 centimeters) long and live only in the Spring Mountains.

“This agreement gives these special little butterflies the best chance of recovery,” Donnelly said.

Court records show U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II agreed to the stipulated settlement on January 19.

This ended a federal lawsuit filed in November 2019 to block the expansion of Lee Canyon and protect butterflies during their short lives already threatened in recent years by wildfires, invasive species and climate change.

The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife listed the species as endangered in 2013, setting the stage for struggles with developers hoping to expand the resort to keep pace with population growth and demand in the south of Nevada.

Hooper said the bike park will be designed and built by Gravity Logic, developer of sites at Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon, and Killington, Vermont.

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