Action Alert: Call to protect Mt. Sunapee, G&C meets Dec. 19

FOMS Action Alert

Dear Friends,

On Wed., Dec. 19, the Executive Council will vote on three changes to the operating agreement with Vail Resorts including a provision that enables West Bowl development at Mount Sunapee State Park.

Add your voice to protect our public lands, our Park, and our mountain area.

Join us in urging a NO vote on Sunapee amendments A, B, and C; please call today Councilors Kenney, Volinsky, Pappas, Prescott, and Wheeler.

The Mount Sunapee lease changes are unacceptable, fail to protect the public trust and the State’s financial interest, and are before the Council without the benefit of a public hearing.

Ski Area Lease Amendments A, B, and C

The citizens of New Hampshire and State government need an accountable public process for considering all Mount Sunapee lease changes including assignments, transfers, and sales.

Amendment A pertains to ‘change of control’ and allows Vail to parcel out and manipulate its interest in the lease without State approval, which limits State authority and accountability for the state-owned property. Additionally, the provision contains language that puts at risk rent due to the State under the lease.

Amendment B allows West Bowl expansion across the mountain’s wild western flank and enables resort and real estate development on private property adjoining the Park. Vail now owns 657 acres adjacent to the Park. See below.

Amendment C provides for a Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission yet evades legislative intent. N.H. RSA 12-A:29-a requires a commission to administer and oversee the ski area lease at Mount Sunapee. An advisory committee serves a different purpose and at the call of the Commissioner.

More about the West Bowl

A contentious expansion and condo plan created by Okemo/Mount Sunapee Resort more than a decade ago eventually morphed into a West Bowl plan approved in 2016, despite strong public opposition.

The controversy continues and for good reasons.

  1. Vail took over the Sunapee lease knowing that the 2016 West Bowl amendment was null and void.
  2. Vail has not revealed any construction plans for the existing ski area or an expansion and says it needs time to identify needs and plan for the future.
  3. Vail has not said how it will protect Mount Sunapee’s unique natural heritage. The plan approved for Okemo/MSR will cut through the rare, ancient forest and open up unknown risks for larger exemplary natural communities on the mountain.
  4. The Sunapee Highlands, recognized for its ecological importance, has been the focus of land protection efforts for more than a century. Introducing resort sprawl across an environmentally significant landscape is short-sighted and violates Mount Sunapee’s conservation legacy.

Policy choices do matter. We need to preserve our valuable natural resources, not endanger them.

And contracts have consequences. The West Bowl amendment:

  • Allows the operator to exempt certain income when calculating rent paid to the State.
  • Anticipates exempting West Bowl parkland from critical public protections given to Mount Sunapee State Park from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund program.
  • Requires the State to give easements and exclusive parkland access to private development, while a 2016 side agreement commits the State to cost sharing for expenses (operations, repairs, and improvements, etc.) for associated construction outside the Park.

Need more info?

Please see FOMS Latest News and our library of documents.

Add your voice

Please speak up to protect the State’s financial interest, our mountain park, and the public trust. Call today Councilors Kenney, Volinsky, Pappas, Prescott, and Wheeler.

ADD YOUR VOICE

Copyright 2018 Friends of Mount Sunapee