The end of 2021 is a good time to remind us of our mission:
Friends of Mount Hood is a non-profit organization dedicated to monitoring development and management of national forest lands on Mount Hood. Friends of Mount Hood is especially interested in protecting the alpine meadows, wetlands, streams, wildlife, and forested slopes on the mountain. For more than three decades, Friends of Mount Hood has worked to safeguard the natural environment at ski areas that operate on national forest land under special use permits. These high alpine areas contain fragile alpine meadows and wetlands, clear flowing streams, and high alpine stands of mountain hemlock and slow growing white bark pine.
Most of our attention has continued to be focused on the Government Camp-Cooper Spur Land Exchange. That exchange was supposed to result in a “clean sweep” with Mt Hood Meadows giving up all north side land it owned. That exchange is not yet complete.
An interesting observation is that the USFS has already moved the electronic file to the bowels of their archives. This seems to be premature as the proposed action is anything but closed. In fact, we are still awaiting the final Record of Decision (ROD).
The last action taken by the USFS was in June 2020, when the Deputy Regional Forester responded to our Objections to the draft ROD (which approved only a partial land trade, rather than the full “clean sweep” that we had all agreed to). We expect a ROD to be issued any time now. We also suspect that there will be litigation needed over that ROD, if the final version continues to only propose a partial trade.
We continue working closely with the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition (CSW&F) to try to ensure that everything is being done that can be done to prevent the development of an oversized resort on the north side of Mt. Hood. The majority of valley residents have opposed this development for decades. They know that small farms cannot survive with this type of commercial development. Thrive Hood River has perfectly stated the case for protecting farm land:
Hood River’s farms are an economic powerhouse producing crops valued at $126,092,000 annually. This irreplaceable irrigated farmland has some of the best and deepest soils in the world, ideal for no-till, perennial crop farming like orchards, vineyards and berries.
While trying to get a full land exchange completed has been the highest priority FOMH also continues to monitor and to present concerns to the USFS on other projects. In June, Mt. Hood Meadows submitted a proposal to replace the Mt. Hood Express lift with a new lengthened lift. FOMH does not oppose lift replacement. However, the USFS has proposed excluding the lift replacement from most environment reviews. FOMH objected and asked for an Environmental Assessment or an Environment Impact Statement. We are awaiting a response from the USFS on those issues and how they propose to proceed.
In August, Timberline Ski Area submitted a proposal to expand down all the way from the bottom of the current ski area to the newly acquired Summit Ski Area at Government Camp. FOMH pointed out that there needed to be a study of the potential effects on wildlife and backcountry skiers that have historically used that area. We also raised concerns about the amount and locations of proposed tree removals, and we requested an analysis of the impacts of proposed expanded night lighting.
Looking forward to 2022 – We will be holding our 2022 Annual Meeting, along with election of Board Members and Officers of the Board, at 6:30 PM on May 12, 2022. At some point next year we will determine if we will be hosting a live meeting or if it will be another virtual meeting.
Thank you again for your support! We hope that you will again join with us in the ongoing battle to protect our beautiful mountain. Please visit friendsofmounthood.org to learn