DURANGO (AP) - The owners of Silverton Mountain are asking federal officials for permission to expand its terrain for helicopter skiing on public land in time for this year's ski season.

Some community members have expressed fears that the proposal would limit access to highly prized backcountry ski terrain in exchange for expensive helicopter skiing to attract more tourists.

 Image: Silverton Mountain

Image: Silverton Mountain

The Durango Herald reports the request to the Bureau of Land Management was made on behalf of Silverton Guides, the arm of Silverton Mountain that provides helicopter skiing adventures.

Federal officials say there is no proposed increase in authorized use because the owners have only proposed expanding the terrain of the ski area.

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