FOMS Spring 2017 Letter

Spring 2017

Dear Friend of Mount Sunapee State Park,

Thank you for your continuing support of the efforts of Friends of Mount Sunapee. Your letter writing, petition signing, activism, and financial support have allowed us to repeatedly communicate to the decision makers in Concord our strong opposition to ski area expansion at Mount Sunapee State Park.

We could not have done it without you!

Despite our efforts, the Executive Council, in April 2016, approved a lease amendment that enables resort and private real estate development on Mount Sunapee’s western slope. Yet to be implemented, this plan failed to detail its scale and scope, impacts and sustainability.

Commercial development, driven by powerful corporate interests, increasingly threatens public lands. At Mount Sunapee State Park, we must strongly resist the exploitation of our parkland for private financial gain.

Additionally, leaseholders at our state parks must demonstrate sound financial management and ethical practices that inspire public confidence and trust.

We are now asking Commissioner Rose (Dept. of Resources and Economic Development) to deny the lease assignment of the ski area from CNL Lifestyle Properties to Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, a New York hedge fund.

In September 2016, the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned Och-Ziff under the provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, resulting in civil and criminal fines totaling $412 million. Furthermore, recent news reports question Och-Ziff’s financial stability. A February 2017 Bloomberg article reported: “Och-Ziff Suffered $13 Billion in Withdrawals as Clients Fled.”

To continue our work, we need your help.

Fostering greater awareness and appreciation of the natural wonder that is Mount Sunapee State Park is central to our mission.

Continued education and outreach are critical for the long-term protection of the park, its ancient forest and exemplary plant communities, brooks and streams, and wildlife.

Also, we must ensure that our park provides ample and appropriate opportunities for traditional uses from picnicking, hiking and camping, to quiet exploration and study. We reject the resort’s agenda of adding amusement park features that destroy scenic beauty and undermine the conservation legacy and appeal of this iconic state park.

With your membership and support, we will remain:

  • vigilant and vocal when it comes to the state’s stewardship of Mount Sunapee State Park;
  • advocates for the protection of Mount Sunapee’s highlands and watersheds; and
  • proponents for smart planning that strengthens the local economy and preserves our quality of life, open spaces, and clean waters.

In the early 1900s, decades before the formation of the state park, preservationist Herbert Welsh led the first campaign “to save Mount Sunapee for all people and to all time.” At the time, timber industry clear-cutting was destroying Mount Sunapee’s scenic beauty and natural environment including its primeval forest.

In defense of a Mount Sunapee State Park for all, the important work of conservation, education, and advocacy continues. Continue it must!

At this critical time for our park, we need and welcome your help and participation. We hope you will consider joining one of our many committees. For more information, please contact us.