Preserve the western side of Mt. Sunapee State Park

Photo of stag headed yellow birch from the NH Natural Heritage Bureau report (2004)
Stag headed yellow birch located in the proposed expansion area at Mount Sunapee State Park. Photo from the NH Natural Heritage Bureau report (2004).

At this point in time, the western side of Mt. Sunapee State Park is a special place. From Old Province Road in Goshen the general public has direct access to the Summit Trail (linked to the Sunapee Ragged Kearsarge Greenway) on the western side of this great mountain.

The western flank of Mount Sunapee is cloaked in a forest mosaic of spruce, maple, birch, beech and oak. The great forest is undisturbed with only the sound of meandering brooks and the rustling of leaves from the forest canopy. At the origin of the trail are towering spruce, transitioning to a spruce/ hardwood mix, eventually finding its way to the rarest of forest stands, old growth. These gnarled trees have established a complex interrelationship with understory plants and have escaped human intervention for centuries. From here the trail ascends the western shoulder of the mountain to the summit from which hikers can view the vast expanse of the Green Mountains in Vermont.

The proposed “West Bowl” expansion will fatally compromise the Summit Trail. The trail, which provides the general public with all season access to the park, will be cut through with ski runs at four different locations. The proposed lift will bisect the old growth forest. In short the trail as it now exists will be gone.

It is not necessary to expand skiing in an area where an equally important public use of the park already exists. The use of the park for skiing is already well established. The public also has a right to experience the mountain in a natural undisturbed state.

In 2010, a NH State Park Report included a survey of the State Park users and found that 71% of State Park users preferred traditional uses of the parks: hiking fishing, swimming, camping picnicking and other leisure activities. Let us preserve this special part of the mountain for all to enjoy.

If you are concerned about this important section of the park, e-mail:

Steve Russell in Newbury

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