Forest Society speaks to old growth forest protection on Mount Sunapee

“… the mountain has a history of protection for the primary purpose of saving “primeval forest.” – NH Forests & Lands, Natural Heritage Inventory of Old Forests and Rare Plants at the Mount Sunapee Ski Lease Area (1999)

The full environmental fallout from resort expansion at Mount Sunapee State Park is unknown. What is known: Old growth forest is in the direct path of a proposed new ski lift and trails, according to a 2004 NH Natural Heritage Bureau evaluation of the ski expansion area.

The Forest Society believes the many questions raised about the expansion need answers by the lease operator “before the State considers how to respond to the proposal.”

Additionally, the Society recently addressed the State’s “standard of review” when considering old growth protection on Mount Sunapee.

One question is how the proposed “West Bowl” ski expansion will impact the ground that is presently in an undeveloped state.  Work done by the N.H. Natural Heritage Bureau (a division of DRED) suggests that there is good cause to further study the presence of old growth forests on the land now targeted for development.  A preliminary NHNHB study suggests the proposed West Bowl expansion will impact old growth forests presently on State Park land.  Ten years ago, a proposed ski expansion into the east bowl of Mount Sunapee was denied due to old growth forests there.  The same standard of review should apply to the west bowl expansion.

There are a host of other important questions looking for answers.  The sooner DRED asks and answers these questions, the better informed its decision will be about whether (and, if so, how) to proceed. – The Forest Society News, November 17, 2014

Okemo/Mount Sunapee Resort failed to provide current and complete impact studies in its Environmental Management Plan (required by the State) and failed to acknowledge the existence of the old-growth forest on State Park land within the expansion area.

Related information:

Resort’s environmental plan is flawed (FOMS Latest News)

Old Growth Forest on Mount Sunapee (See FOMS library of Studies and Related Information)

The Forest Society’s comments delivered to a public hearing in August held by Commissioner Jeff Rose of the NH Department of Resources & Economic Development and a subsequent letter to the Commissioner.


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