Let's give Mt. A more than $1M

Compromise during conflict can be more difficult to locate than the fall line on Mt. Ashland on a foggy day. For the Mount Ashland Association, the intensity of conflict around the long expansion fight may conceal the win-win opportunity that would benefit the ski area and the community.

After rejecting offers of compromise, suing the City of Ashland, throwing money away to defend a divisive expansion proposal, and closing the ski area for part of the week, MAA is now asking for $1 million in donations. I propose we give them much more.

Below is an offer that could be the basis of a workable compromise.

We request that MAA reinstate hours of operation to the pre-existing level for the coming ski season.

We request that MAA revoke litigation end negotiations for the SUP with the City of Ashland.

We request that MAA abandon the pursuit of a ski area expansion into the middle branch of the East Fork of Ashland Creek and consider an alternative expansion proposal that would provide a new chairlift, improvements and new terrain.

We request changes to the Board of Directors' decision-making style by changing MAA to a voting membership organization, which can produce changes to the board and more accurately represent our community.

When a group of skiers, snowboarders, season pass holders and former ski area employees met to create a compromise alternative for ski area expansion, I was skeptical.

The details of the proposal eased my skepticism, however. It promotes facility improvements, provides more terrain by adding another chairlift within the existing area and protects the middle branch. The proposal is compelling.

The proposed compromise would allow skiers and snowboarders to utilize the new chairlift without having to negotiate runs and lifts that are regularly pummeled by the wind. Because the new lift would have its base below the existing lower runs, advanced skiers would have the opportunity to ski the current proposed expansion area without impacting the middle branch.

The above requests are incorporated into petition form. In the initial days of circulating the petition nearly everyone approved of it and were happy to sign it. Compromise, reform and respect of the community will provide MAA with viable expansion, an end to legal costs, and respect from the community.

Your signature on the petition is worth more to MAA than any portion of the $1 million they will waste on more fighting.

Derek Volkart

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