Archive | advocacy

Eagle Times: Sunapee group seeks protection of old growth

The Friends of Mount Sunapee continues its work on conservation, natural resource protection, education, and advocacy. Our current focus includes outreach regarding the rare ancient forest in Mount Sunapee State Park.

The enduring forest on Mount Sunapee

We invite you to read a recent article via the Eagle Times: “Sunapee group seeks protection for old growth,” Oct. 4, 2019.

Or get the story via FOMS website: Sunapee group seeks protection for old-growth forest | News | eagletimes.com. (pdf 96kb)

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Advisory committee will meet May 29 to review Mount Sunapee annual plan

The first Annual Operating Plan (AOP) presented by Vail Resorts for the state-owned ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park is now available, and the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee will discuss the plan on May 29 in Newbury.

The MSAC meeting will be held at Veterans Hall, Newbury, starting at 10 a.m. The public is invited to attend. See below.

Here is the meeting agenda.

Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort scheduled “no new major capital projects” for the coming year, according to the annual plan submitted in May to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR).

Therefore, the projects listed for the next 12 months include no expansion projects, no new construction within the current leasehold area, and no large renovations to existing buildings.

This summer, the resort will invest in maintenance on ski area infrastructure, lifts, trails, snowmaking, and buildings.

Bruce Schmidt, the general manager at Mount Sunapee Resort, will present this year’s operating plan and give a resort update at the May 29 meeting.

Read the AOP via the Friends of Mount Sunapee (FOMS) library of documents, Annual Operating Plan 2019-2020, (pdf 13 MB) or the Advisory Committee web page.

How to offer your Mount Sunapee comments and questions

On May 29, the public will have an opportunity to make brief (under 3 minutes) comments on the Annual Operating Plan at the end of the meeting, according to a DNCR spokesperson.

Additionally, Commissioner Stewart is accepting written comments submitted through June 7, 2019. Mail written comments to:

Mount Sunapee AOP Comments
NH Division of Parks and Recreation
Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
172 Pembroke Road, Concord NH 03301

Or email: MountSunapeeComments@dncr.nh.gov

Additional Resources

Here are links to the FOMS library of documents:

If you are looking for additional information, please contact us.

Executive Council defers vote on Vail Sunapee contract changes

The Executive Council on Dec. 5 voted to delay a vote on three changes to the Mount Sunapee area ski contract with Vail Resorts. The Governor and Council (G&C) next meet on Dec. 19 at the State House in Concord.

The amendments to the operating contract between the State and Vail include the controversial West Bowl expansion. The three provisions sent to G&C are significant and govern: 

  1. Change of control regarding the assignment, transfer, and sale of the equity interest
  2. West Bowl development
  3. Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission

You will find the amendments below. And you can listen to the Mount Sunapee discussion of Governor and Council via this audio clip (MP3 download).

 

To view a video of the G&C meeting, go to Newport Community TV Online. The Mount Sunapee exchange starts at 1:11.

For more about the Vail contract changes, see:

See Amendments A, B, and C here:

  1. DNCR Late Item A Change of Control 2018Dec (pdf 3MB)
  2. DNCR Late Item B West Bowl 2018Dec (pdf 3MB)
  3. DNCR Late Item C Advisory Comm 2018Dec (pdf 3MB )

Governor Sununu added Mount Sunapee amendments A, B, and C to the Dec. 5 agenda as a late item, which precluded public review and comments on the specific provisions presented. The Secretary of State does not release and post ‘late items’ before the meeting.

Friends of Mount Sunapee believes the policy-making process that determines the future use and development of our State Park must be transparent and accountable and provide for meaningful citizen participation.

 

 

FOMS Enews: Action alert to send Mt. Sunapee comments

Sign up to get FOMS updates via our Contact Form.

Here is a link to FOMS October 29 action alert.

FOMS ENews October 29, 2018

The controversial West Bowl amendment is back before the Governor and Council. On Wednesday, October 31, the Executive Council will take up three changes to the ski area lease at Mount Sunapee State Park including a West Bowl amendment. Read more…

 

 

DNCR to announce Mount Sunapee lease decision at Sept. 26 meeting

Special Alert: Mount Sunapee State Park Public Information Session – Wednesday, September 26 (6 pm) at Mount Sunapee State Park (Sunapee Lodge), Route 103, Newbury, N.H.

New Hampshire DNCR Commissioner Sarah Stewart (Department of Natural and Cultural Resources) will announce her decision on the Mount Sunapee ski area lease assignment to Vail Resorts at a public meeting on Wed., Sept. 26, 2018.

We encourage the public to attend this important meeting. There will be an opportunity for public comment and questions.

Per the DNCR release: “The Department has received a request to consent to the assignment of the lease to The Sunapee Difference, LLC, which will be indirectly owned by VR NE Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. (“Vail”). After careful consideration of public comments and working with the Attorney General’s Office, Commissioner Sarah Stewart will release the decision on the proposed transfer and details related to the decision.”

DNCR will post the decision and related documents on its website after announcing its decision on September 26.

NH Parks posted on Monday additional materials about the potential lease assignment. We’ve added these documents to FOMS website:

Background
In June 2018, Vail Resorts announced that it was seeking to acquire the ski area lease and operations at Mount Sunapee.

The September 26 meeting will be the second information session in two months on the Triple Peaks sale to Vail Resorts. On July 25, Commissioner Stewart and N.H. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald hosted a session that included remarks by Tim and Diane Mueller (current operator/Triple Peaks), a presentation by Vail representatives, and public comment.

View the July 2018 Mount Sunapee State Park information session via Newport Community TV.

FOMS advocates for diligent and transparent management of the state-owned ski area. We seek public policy and process decisions that restore public trust and honor the original intent of leasing a significant portion of our iconic state park to a private operator.

“New Hampshire citizens look to the State to exercise vigorous oversight and defend the public trust, no matter the operator or leaseholder at Mount Sunapee State Park. We also look to lessees at the park for leadership and operational and development plans that reflect local concerns and interests and respect our state park’s public values and the RSAs that protect our parks and natural heritage.” – Friends of Mount Sunapee, at the July 25 Mount Sunapee State Park Information Session.

FOMS Mount Sunapee submitted comments called for:

  • A “public hearing” to review the lease transfer request
  • Immediate formation of an Oversight and Administration Commission to manage the lease
  • An independent financial and operational audit of lessees to ensure lease compliance
  • Protection of the 484-acre exemplary forest within the State Park
  • Permanent protection of Mount Sunapee’s western slopes from resort development, land conservation that respects the original leasehold area.
  • Compliance with signage and advertising requirements to indicate state (public) ownership of the ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park.

See FOMS comments, August 6, 2018.

See Vail’s June 4, 2018, announcement.

Join us on Wed., Sept. 26 at Mount Sunapee State Park
The upcoming public info session will help give insight into the potential changes coming to the ski area and Mount Sunapee State Park and possible future impacts to our local communities and region.

Film tells of lost ancient forests of New England

 

Mount Sunapee State Park contains primeval forest, first documented in the Manual of Mount Sunapee in 1915 and rediscovered in 1997 by conservation ecologist Chris Kane. Permanent protection of Mount Sunapee’s “exemplary” and ancient forests is a priority for the Friends of Mount Sunapee. The film The Lost Forests of New England further informs and inspires our work.

Forest film informs and inspires

What is an ancient or old growth forest? What do they look like? Why are they important?

The Lost Forests of New England – Eastern Old Growth, is a one-hour film published in May 2018 by New England Forests. The film answers questions about ancient forest history and science and more! It tells of the old growth forests of New England: “what they once were, what changes have taken place across central New England since European settlers arrived, and what our remnant old growth stands look like today.”

The film features presentations by David Foster, David Orwig, Neil Pederson (Harvard Forest) Tony D’Amato (University of Vermont) Tom Wessels (Antioch University New England) Peter Dunwiddie (University of Washington) Bob Leverett (Native Tree Society) Joan Maloof (Old Growth Forest Network).

Recommended reading

“…these ancient forests are small fragments of what once was, and as such are vulnerable to loss from ignorance of their value and ecological import… To be protected, their existence must be known to those who would care enough about them to be vigilant (that would be you). But the other side of that coin is that sometimes, attention by too many well-meaning enthusiasts results in a place succumbing to “too much love”. That put us in a tight spot… we wanted to see these remnants protected forever, but not at the cost of losing them to heavy traffic!”

Mount Sunapee’s exemplary forest

Friends of Mount Sunapee, following over a century of preservation efforts on the mountain, advocates for the protection of the state park’s natural heritage for current and future generations. FOMS seeks protection of its large forest ecosystems including ancient forests within the Exemplary Natural Community Systems (ENCS).

Learn about Mount Sunapee’s natural heritage via our website.

Please contact FOMS if you’d like more info or would like to help us in our work.

For FOMS updates, sign up here.

Courtesy photo, Mount Sunapee State Park, 2018.

 

 

FOMS comments on Mount Sunapee lease change

Mount Sunapee Comments are due today, by 4 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2018, to DNCR on the lease change proposal at Mount Sunapee State Park. Email: MountSunapeeComments@dncr.nh.gov

The Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources received from Friends of Mount Sunapee comments that include a call for:

  • A Public Hearing
  • An Oversight and Administration Commission to manage the ski area lease
  • Permanent protection of Mount Sunapee’s natural heritage and western slopes from resort development, land conservation that respects the intent of the original lease and leasehold area

Friends of Mount Sunapee (FOMS), following over a century of preservation efforts for the mountain, advocates for the protection of Mount Sunapee State Park’s unique natural heritage for current and future generations. We seek protection of its large forest ecosystems including ancient forests within the Exemplary Natural Community Systems (ENCS)… Read FOMS Mount Sunapee comments 2018Aug6

FOMS Summary of Positions July 10, 2018

Mt. Sunapee leaseholder Och-Ziff is in the news again

You can’t make this stuff up. The headline reads:

Och-Ziff So Messed Up Top Exec. Is Fleeing To The Comparative Calm Of Cryptocurrencies

Is this who we want as a leaseholder at Mount Sunapee State Park?

In 2017, Och-Ziff, a criminally sanctioned hedge fund, assumed the ski area lease at Mount Sunapee. State officials said the deal, structured as it was, precluded State scrutiny. Och-Ziff took over the Sunapee lease without any review by Governor and Executive Councilor. The resort and ski area takes in more than 1,000 acres of public land and infrastructure.

To join FOMS citizen advocates working on oversight and management issues, please contact us. We could use the help.

Och-Ziff So Messed Up Top Exec. Is Fleeing To The Comparative Calm Of Cryptocurrencies

The People’s Climate Rally is April 29th

The March For Science and the People’s Climate Movement continues with the People’s Climate Rally on Saturday, April 29th! The New Hampshire People’s Climate March in Concord starts at 9:00 AM at the State House Lawn, 107 North Main Street.

FOMS is a supporter and will have a presence tabling. If you can help at the People’s Climate Rally on Saturday, please contact us.

And here are other ways people can help now:

  • Make plans to attend the rally, reach out to family and friends and invite them to join you.
  • Organize a carpool to Concord for the event or to a sister rally.
  • Gather with friends and make posters, so they are ready to go on Saturday.
  • Share event information and photos on social media.

SEE: https://patch.com/new-hampshire/concord-nh/peoples-climate-rally-planned-concord

 

Copyright 2019 Friends of Mount Sunapee