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Washington, DC—Idaho ski areas could get an economic boost from legislation co-sponsored by Senator Jim Risch.  The legislation was included in a package of bills unanimously approved in the United States Senate on Tuesday. 

The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Act of 2011 allows the U.S. Forest Service to grant permits to ski resorts on a year-around instead of seasonal basis.  It also expands the definition of allowable recreation activities to include sledding/tubing, zip lines, mountain biking, frisbee golf and high ropes courses.

"This legislation is good for Idahoans and good for our economy.  Instead of restricting access to a few months each year, outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy a variety of activities year-around," said Risch.  "It will also simplify the process for resort operators."

The Senate also approved extensions to advance construction projects on the Little Wood River Ranch dam and American Falls Reservoir.  The Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission (FERC) extension was authored by Risch in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and co-sponsored by Senator Mike Crapo.