Resort expansion violates public interest and park mission

NOTE: 73% spoke in OPPOSITION to resort expansion at the public hearing at Mount Sunapee State Park on May 5, 2015. Here is some of the testimony presented on the amended plan for resort development. To share YOUR comments, email: Info@friendsomountsunapee.org


Submitted by Steve Russell, Newbury

I am opposed to the draft decision made by DRED to approve the West Bowl Expansion as well as the mountain coaster.

This decision is in conflict with the public interest and the mission of the State Park system in the state of New Hampshire. It ignores the findings of the NH Natural Heritage Bureau by allowing the construction of a ski lift in an area of the Exemplary Forest natural community system. It eliminates the current public use of the park. It negates the functionality of the Summit hiking trail which currently allows park visitors to have access to the forest and mountainside without interruption by ski infrastructure.

The changes to Mt. Sunapee resulting from this proposal are permanent and will alter the environment on the western side of the Mountain forever. Blasting holes into the granite where the exemplary forest is now located to put in lift towers can never be reversed.

The forest will be fragmented and it’s connection to the Pillsbury-Sunapee highlands severed.

These forested areas are  in large measure what define rural character and, as is stated in the Newbury Town annual report, the #1 reason why people visit this area of New Hampshire.

By re-purposing the use of the park exclusively for skiing the expansion limits it’s accessibility to only those of the highest income levels. Only the top 14% of household incomes will have access to the park and if condos are built that number will shrink to 5%.

This fundamentally contradicts the purpose and intent of public parks which is to provide access to the general public.

The state as stewards of this unique treasured public resource should be advocating its protection. Instead of promoting more commercialization of the park we could build a beautiful visitor center that informs the public through exhibits about the uniqueness of this special area of Mt. Sunapee and entice visitors to go and explore it’s magnificence.

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