A Land Use Lease has been issued to the owners of Silverton, to operate North American's lone "all expert" ski area for the next 40 years. The Lease also lets Silverton Mountain use 1,300 acres of Bureau of Land Management Land for commercial use alongside the private land owned by Silverton. The total combined acreage is 1,819 acres, which makes Silverton one of the biggest areas in Colorado. Silverton was previously,operated under annually renewed permits on the same BLM land. Aaron Brill, who founded Silverton, started the process of getting the ski area going in 1999. The Lease was signed by the BLM Durango Area Manager Mark Stiles, after a lengthy and thorough review. Silverton is the first area to be issued a Land Use Lease by the Federal Government since Beaver Creek did it in the mid 1980s.