July 20, 2006 Mt. A agreement must be made During some three years of public examination of the Mount Ashland Association’s (MAA) proposed ski area expansion, along with the Forest Service’s (FS) eventual “Final Environmen

Mt. A agreement must be made

During some three years of public examination of the Mount Ashland Association’s (MAA)proposed ski area expansion, along with the Forest Service’s (FS) eventual “Final Environmental Impact Statement” (FEIS), there was much input from Ashlanders, and other users of the ski area. Twenty-six Ashlanders immediately appealed this FEIS to the Regional Forester, Linda Goodman. These appeals met with the most shoddy, irresponsible review I have ever seen from a supposedly “professional” organization. If Goodman cannot be convinced to leave, we are then in for more of the same for years to come.

At this point, Headwaters, The Sierra Club, and Eric Navickastook up the gauntlet in lawsuits now pending against the FS on this issue. These are scheduled to be decided this August 7. My veteran friends in such lawsuits tell me that first hearings are almost always decided against the environmental community, and are only rightedupon the subsequent appeal.

In the process of the research that went into writing the FEIS appeals, it became clear that any of the proposed expansions (save possibly “Option 5”) would cause irreparable habitat loss for several animal and plant species labled either “threatened” or “endangered.” Ironically, the FEIS itself spells this out very clearly.

What I would like to focus on here are three other points which emerged in this process:



1. There is a huge erosional price to be paid for any of the proposed expansions. This would majorly impact the quantity and quality of Ashland’s water supply, only.



2. While not unanimous, a very clear majority of Ashlanders giving public verbal and/or written input to the 2003-2004 hearings were against any sort of ski area expansion. At the time the MAA strove mightily to conceal this fact.



3. The City of Ashland holds the Special Use Permit (SUP) for running this ski area, and MAA is its assigned executor. It operates at City Council’s pleasure.

In view of these facts, I suggest that MAA, in its new role as friend of Ashland, make a firm public commitment to not cut down a single tree until this issue is finally decided upon appeal. If MAA is unwilling to do this, then City Council should step in and leash the MAA. As representatives of the majority will, and best interests of this community, they must be prepared to hang tough.

Aaron Corbet

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