Saturday, November 15, 2014
The proposal by Mount Sunapee Resorts submitted in the 2014-19 master plan to expand skiing onto privately owned land adjacent to Mount Sunapee State Park omitted a report done in 2004 by the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau.
The report identifies four areas of ecological significance within the proposed expansion. One area, known as polygon D, is identified as having “statewide significance” and that “it is contiguous with and forms the northern extent of the large, unfragmented forest block to the south, the Sunapee-Pillsbury Highlands.”
Thus, this area is inextricably linked to one of the largest contiguous forested areas in the state, which encompasses 6,875 acres.
The proposed ski lift shown on the map of the West Bowl expansion will cut through the center this significant forested area.
The importance of omitting this information by Mount Sunapee Resorts cannot be overstated. It goes to the heart of the state park mission, whose No. 1 priority according to New Hampshire statute is: “To protect and preserve unusual, scenic, scientific, historical, recreational and natural areas within the state.”
Mount Sunapee is still a state park that has other important public benefits and uses other than skiing. Thus you have a state agency report identifying a forested area of “statewide significance” within the state park, which connects to one of the largest unfragmented forests in the state, missing from the resorts’ master plan. On this basis, it is incumbent that the Department of Economic Resources and Development reject this proposal.