Representatives of the New Hampshire Sierra Club and the Friends of Mount Sunapee, joined by other concerned citizens, delivered more than 1,900 comments and signatures opposing ski resort expansion at Mount Sunapee State Park to Governor Hassan and Commissioner Rose on June 4, following a news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Concord. (Shown here.)
The two groups began working together after the ‘draft decision‘ by Commissioner Rose (Department of Resources and Economic Development) recommended the ‘West Bowl’ expansion at Mount Sunapee. The Sierra Club and FOMS worked together during the last iteration of a similar proposal of ten years ago and joined forces to bring greater awareness to the plan and DRED’s public comment period ending on June 5, 2015.
The draft Mount Sunapee master plan would allow for a 150-acre ‘West Bowl’ expansion of the ski area and allow the operator to retain ownership of the committed land until 2028, with an additional ten years added to the current lease term. Provisions of the plan would enable real estate development by the operator on land adjacent to the expanded ski area and the park.
The plan conditionally approves land “donations” to the state of 208 acres of land along the Sunapee Highlands, land previously protected by a public-funded conservation easement, and grants mitigation with another land “donation” of 52 acres near the summit. The plan allows for the construction of a ‘mountain coaster’ near the center of the park, fragmentation of state-designated and state-protected exemplary forest, and direct impacts to the only four-season public hiking/snowshoe trail (Summit Trail) on the west side of the state park.
Unacceptable terms in the proposal relate to environmental, economic, and public trust and public policy issues.
Commissioner Rose has not indicated when he will announce his final recommendation.