Archive | public policy

Sunapee’s new leaseholder fined millions for bribery. Officials now say State cannot intervene.

The Union Leader reports: “Sunapee’s new leaseholder fined millions in bribery case” and “… the deal between Och-Ziff and CNL was structured to avoid triggering the state’s right to intervene.”

“MacDonald [NH’s attorney general] said the terms of the lease agreement allow the state to intervene if the company holding the lease decides to sell or transfer it to someone else, but no provision was made for the state to intervene if the company holding the lease is bought by another company.”


On June 7, 2017, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Commissioner Jeffrey Rose, Department of Resources and Economic Development, issued a memo on the subject.

See NH AG DRED Mt Sunapee Ski Area Memo 2017June7 (pdf 1.2MB)

If you have questions or information to share, please contact us.

Update 06/17/2017 – The memo of June 7, 2017, by NH’s attorney general and DRED commissioner referenced a Lessor Estoppel (signed in September 2016). See CNL Ski – Ground Lease Estoppel – Sunapee -State of New Hampshire (pdf 5 MB)


Mount Sunapee advisory committee to review annual plan for ski area on May 31

“What is being planned for winter and summer programs for the ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park? The operator Okemo/Mount Sunapee Resort will discuss its Annual Operating Plan (AOP) 2017-2018 with the state’s Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee on Wed., May 31, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. at the Newbury Town Offices, Route 103. The meeting is open to the public. The resort will discuss operations and projects planned for the coming year, according to the agenda. A hiking trail update is expected, as well.

View/download the agenda here: MSAC-Agenda5-31 (pdf 24kb)

View/download the AOP here: MSR-AOP-2017-2018 (pdf 6MB)

Read related post…

Protection of the public hiking trails at Mount Sunapee State Park, including the woodland Summit Trail, is a priority for FOMS.

In March 2016, Commissioner Rose (Department of Resources and Economic Development) agreed and said, “maintaining four season hiking on the Summit Trail is a priority. To codify this commitment, DRED, Mount Sunapee Resort and the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition (SRKGC) will enter into a Cooperative Maintenance Agreement, which will protect and maintain the designated trails within the leased boundary. In addition to protecting and maintaining the safety and stewardship of the trails, Mount Sunapee Resort will provide annual spring maintenance on the Summit Trail.”

As of this posting, DRED has not provided FOMS a status report on the Cooperative Maintenance Agreement. FOMS volunteers continue to follow up with DRED, and we’ll post the agreement when made available.


Mt. Sunapee ski area plans no major capital projects for 2017

Okemo/Mount Sunapee Resort has submitted to the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) the Annual Operating Plan (AOP) for 2017-2018 for the ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park. The operator has “no major capital projects planned” for the spring and summer of 2017.

Download/view the 2017-2018 operating plan here: MSR-AOP-2017-2018-Final (pdf 6.7MB).

At a meeting of the Mount Sunapee (Ski Area) Advisory Committee on May 31, 2017, we expect that the resort operator will give a review of 2016-2017 and then discuss the recently released AOP and plans for the year ahead.

The AOP describes winter and summer activities and includes the resort’s proposal for a new summer activity for the park: a “3-D Archery Course” with “12-15 animal targets located in a secluded and separated area of the South Peak Adventure Park.” Few other details are provided.

See FOMS State Park Management and Policies page for official documents related to management of the ski area including prior operating plans.

Related FOMS post: Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee to meet May 31

Updated May 23, 2017


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.



Mount Sunapee committee to discuss annual plan on June 23

In April (2016) Governor Hassan and the N.H. Executive Council approved a lease amendment that allows resort expansion and development of a West Bowl ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park.

Citing legal and public policy concerns, the Friends of Mount Sunapee continues to strongly oppose private resort and ski area expansion at the state park.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.19.00 AMNo “West Bowl” projects are contained in the Annual Operating Plan (AOP) recently submitted by Okemo/Mount Sunapee Resort to N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development.  The AOP for 2016-2017 and update on hiking trails will be discussed at a meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee on June 23rd. FOMS encourages the public to attend.

Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee Meeting
When: Thursday, June 23 (2016) at 10 a.m.
Where: Newbury Town Offices, Route 103 – Large Conference Room
View the agenda: MSAC-6-23-16-Agenda (pdf)

Read the Annual Operating Plan 2016-2017 (pdf 7.7MB)

The AOP for the coming year says “no major capital projects” are planned; all projects “are maintenance projects.” Adding a mountain bike trail to the “Adventure Park” is anticipated.

The AOP references numerous DRED approved improvements not yet completed. These projects include improvements within the current leasehold area to ski trails, lifts, buildings, snow-making and infrastructure.

AOP reports sharp decline in 2015-16 skier visits

Last season’s so-called “no-snow winter” and record breaking warm temperatures in the Northeast melted away snow-making budgets and shortened the ski season by weeks.

FOMS analyses of Mount Sunapee Resort skier visits (1998-2016). Skier visits and the number open days are listed in the Annual Operating Plan (page 12).

FOMS analyses of Mount Sunapee Resort skier visits (1998-2016). Skier visits and the number open days are reported in the Annual Operating Plan (page 12).

The ski area at Mount Sunapee closed for the season on March 27th and the resort reported 179,000 skier visits, a 30% decline from the prior season. Ski days numbered 113 last winter vs. 143 open days in 2014-2015.

The AOP provided no revenue figures and did not reveal visitation numbers for non-skiing activities. The resort promotes a “summer activities” program and operates the lodges and facilities within the leasehold area year round for a variety of special functions, which now include rental of lodge space and facilities for private use.

The AOP, once again, recycles grossly outdated information pointing to 1998 wildlife habitat mapping and omits critical studies that document ecologically valuable resources at the state park and within and surrounding the ski area.

The state’s oversight policy for the ski area requires (submission to DRED and the Town of Newbury) an annual operating plan, which is due each year by May 15th. The plan is normally presented at a public meeting in late May or early June. This year, the plan will be presented and discussed with the Advisory Committee only seven days before the June 30th due date for DRED’s written response.

Read the Public Involvement and Oversight Policy 1998 (pdf)

FOMS encourages public participation and openness in all policy-making processes that determine the future of our state park and our region.

How do you describe Mount Sunapee’s rare old forest?

Polygon D 2014OctQ. – The manager of Mount Sunapee Resort has repeatedly stated that there is no old growth in the proposed expansion area. How do you and the Friends of Mount Sunapee respond to that claim?

A. – It is essential to understand that, even among forest ecologists, there is some debate over the definition of the term old growth. Quite frankly, the wording can be a semantic trap. The resort operators are missing the point by focusing on the term.

The focus should be on the facts:

Continue Reading →

Copyright 2019 Friends of Mount Sunapee