A Phoenix developer hopes to win approval by late next year for a multimillion-dollar four-season resort on West Mountain and Cascade Reservoir.
If developed, it would be the first large destination resort built in the Pacific Northwest in about 20 years.Dennis Lee Taggart, an architect who specializes in recreation development, confirmed this week that an independent firm is writing an environmental impact statement. He said a draft will be released for public review in the next few months.
The project, first made public in early 1984, calls for development of a ski resort offering a 3,000-foot vertical drop, the same as Sun Valley. It would feature a gondola and eight chairlifts, including several detachable quad chairs - the latest in chairlift technology.
"Le Bois, The Resort on Cascade Lake," also would offer an 18-hole, par-72 golf course, lodge, ice skating rink, snowmobile rentals, condominiums, private housing and horse stables, Taggart said.
He declined to indicate the project's cost. But given its size, the price tag would have to run $100 million or more, state officials said.
Taggart, a Boise native and University of Idaho graduate, said he has dreamed of developing a destination resort on the banks of Cascade Reservoir for years. He has helped design and manage projects for the Sheraton Hotel at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, the Sunrise Ski Resort near Sholo, Ariz., and other projects.
"I feel we can make it work," he said. "Tourism is a primary interest in the state of Idaho, and I think it's a real opportunity if we can make it work and compete with other destination areas in Colorado and Utah."
Herb Cummings, resource forester for the Boise National Forest's Cascade Ranger District, said a tall stack of paper work - some of the information needed for the impact statement - arrived on his desk recently.
He said it came as a complete surprise.
Although public meetings had been held on the proposal in late 1984, little has been heard about the project for four years.
"For a number of years, nothing happened," Cummings said. "We thought it was probably dead."
Taggart said the project is very much alive, but that nothing will occur until the impact statement is completed. He said a change in federal tax laws and the stock market crash slowed the process somewhat, but he insisted that he has ample financing for bankrolling the endeavor.
Taggart said he had several partners in the venture and plans to release financial details in several months.
For the project to proceed, Taggart will have to obtain a special-use permit for operating a ski area on 2,580 acres of national forest land. He owns 500-plus acres of land below the proposed ski area in the Poison Creek drainage, and he hopes to lease property from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for developing a marina.
Cummings said the Boise forest "is trying to stay kind of neutral" on the project, but that no major environmental obstacles have been discovered thus far.