Letters to the editor

Mt. A 'restoration' means mitigating watershed damage

General Manager Kim Clark complained that a federal injunction on ski area expansion prevents the Mt. Ashland Association from doing restoration work on the mountain (see Dec. 16 Tidings article "Ski area projects blocked").

Restoration, in this context, would mean dismantling the ski area, obliterating its roads and growing trees on exposed slopes. That's not what Clark means. He proposes to mitigate watershed damage caused by the existing ski area, mostly by containing soil erosion.

Environmental groups exempted from their legal complaint those mitigation projects as well as other improvements, including five new ski runs, installation of a new lift, leveling of the Sonnet "bunny slope" run and construction of new visitor amenities.

The MAA represented every step of the way that they could not do those mitigations without a concurrent logging operation for expansion because they needed a helicopter. Does Clark now maintain that he will hire a helicopter without a timber sale?

Last, the Tidings incorrectly reported that faulty "environmental analysis" by the Forest Service precipitated the injunction. In fact, the appellate court found violations of Rogue River National Forest Plan standards for watershed protection in addition to poorly informed and arbitrary analysis of impacts to the endangered Pacific fisher.

Jay Lininger

Flagstaff, Ariz.

Jay Lininger designed the lawsuit that prevented expansion of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.

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