Letter to the Editor

Time to give up on ski expansion

By now, mid-January, with the Mount Ashland ski area closed due to insufficent snow, the board of the Mt. Ashland Association has surely had misgivings about the viability of the proposed expansion.

One has to admit that our local snowpack future is even more unpredictable due to global warming. It is irresponsible for the Mt. Ashland Association to proceed, (they say "in April"), to clearcut 70 acres of prime forest, located on the headwaters of Ashland's sole source of water, for an expanded limited-use snow recreation park.

The original reasons given for expansion have evaporated. The cry for "easy" runs is accomplished with the use of their powerful newer grooming machines. And the cry that the runs are overcrowded is invalidated by their choosing to close the area on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. (Alas, as an avid, albeit senior skier, I prefer skiing midweek).

Across the country, ski areas are rethinking their own expansion plans. Challenged examples include interconnecting runs between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in California, and in Colorado, Copper Mountain and Breckenridge. Environmental groups stress that with global warming, it is even more responsible, more imperative to leave the existing remaining wilderness as it is! This is not the time to accept so-called "expert" opinion that man's intrusions on nature will have mimimal impact.

The Mt. Ashland Association must realistically recognize that their expansion vision is now outdated, and they must flip a 180 and concentrate on trying to maintain what now exists.

Marilyn Briggs


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