The Annual Operating Plan (AOP) for 2018-2019 proposed for the ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park is now available. Okemo/Mount Sunapee Resort (MSR) prepared the plan for the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
No “West Bowl” expansion projects are in this plan. This AOP focuses on “maintenance” and “capital improvements” in the current leasehold area.
Western expansion has been an on-going concern to Friends of Mount Sunapee. In 2016, the State went ahead and revised the ski area lease to allow western development beyond the existing park boundary. FOMS continues to oppose this expansion plan, which enables private resort and real estate development adjoining the park.
Now, back to the Mount Sunapee annual plan
You can read or download the Mount Sunapee operating plan here: MSR_AOP 2018-2019 (pdf 9MB)
You can read the oversight policy here: Public-Involvement-Policy-1998 (pdf 242kb)
The policy states that the “AOP shall describe in detail” an “environmental management program”. However, the Resort fails to provide current and complete environmental information in its plans. Wildlife studies and natural heritage data are readily available from N.H. Fish and Game and the Natural Heritage Bureau.
FOMS volunteers will now review this latest AOP and provide comment in a future post. Also, you can seek out additional information in June when the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee meets to discuss the plan. FOMS will post the meeting date and agenda when known.
State management at Mount Sunapee
The State developed the park and ski area with state and federal monies for public outdoor recreation and benefit. Corporate lessees operate the ski area, which encompasses 1,000+ acres of prime conservation land. Both the federal funding requirements and N.H. legislative provisions require public management of the entire park.
Therefore, FOMS advocates for diligent oversight of the lease agreement to assure all federal and state requirements are met. Additionally, DNCR needs to make sure the operator satisfies the terms described in annual plan approvals. These approvals by the agency are often subject to inter-agency review and local permitting. Yes, responsible management requires compliance monitoring, as well.