Summary of Friends of Mount Hood Newsletter
Assault on Mount Hood
Crisis on the Mountain
So much has been going on regarding plans for Mount Hood. Our last newsletter told of changes with Mount Hood Meadows (MHM) acquistion of
Cooper Spur Inn (154 acres of private forest land);
Cooper Spur Ski Area (1400 acres of USFS land under permit);
Land trade with Hood River County giving MHM 640 acres of additional private land near the Cooper Spur Ski Area.
Although no formal plans have been submitted, we have gained considerable information concerning possible proposed development. There are still many hurdles to jump, so it is not a done deal. A MHM destination resort as described in our newsletter of Dec., 2001, would include
450 units of housing,
an 18-hole golf course,
an upscale shopping center.
It turns out that 85% of the land swap is in the state-delineated Crystal Springs Drinking Water Protection Area. The resort would straddle an important wild life corridor. Keep in mind that a golf course takes immense amounts of water, and water from East Fork of Hood River is already oversubscribed.
As many as seven chairlifts could be placed in the traditionally low-key Cooper Spur Ski Area. Alarmingly, lifts could extend up the mountain to a point near Cloud Cap Inn and the wilderness area. The permit area could extend to include much of the Historic District. The historic Tilly Jane Trail could become a ski run, with a lodge and resturant located midway up the slope.
Now, there are five ski areas on Mount Hood and hundreds of acres of developed downhill skiing. Reserving this wild, historic area for traditional, low-impact winter sports would better serve the broad public interest as well as the integrity of the mountain environment.
MHM proclaims their plans as important for job development in Hood River County, as well as a year-round resort. They totally ignore the irreversable damage to the wild areas, watersheds, and animal life. There are better places for intensive development and other ways to develop jobs that do not have such dire effects.
What is being done to counteract all this?
About a year ago, Friends of Mount Hood contacted Chris Winter and Ralph Bloemers of the Cascade Resource Advocacy Group (GRAG). Both now deal with our many issues and they have a big job to do. Chris has joined our board. Karl Anuta, who has helped us for almost 15 years, remains on our board as advisor.
Bloemers is taking the lead in suing Hood River County on the land trade for the Hood River Valley Residents’ Committee (HRVRC). This action is in process.
Bloemers is working with Bark, a timber sales watchdog group, to appeal the timber sales on national forest land in the Cooper Spur area.
A new coalition of concerned groups is now being formed and a steering committee organized to coordinate those who object to development defacing the wild slopes of Mount Hood. Information on the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition can be found on their website www.cooperspur.org.
1000 Friends of Oregon is advising on zoning and land use issues concerning resort development within Hood River County.
FOMH and HRVRC hired two summer interns, one to research wildlife issues; the other economic issues. Intern, Jenn Dolan, has prepared a map with overlays of timber sales and Crystal Springs Water Protection Area.
FOMH is still involved in monitoring Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area expansion. In February, 2000, MHM presented a proposal to the Forest Service to construct a new ski lift (Lift 21). After completing an environmental assessment the USFS approved the construction of the lift in December, 2001. Chris Winter handled the administrative appeal of this decision for FOMH. In the spring of 2002 the USFS withdrew the decision approving the lift, but later the proposal was resubmitted with additional material. We commented again and may appeal, if the USFS again aproves the construction of the lift.
Karl Anuta is dealing with a a serious oil spill that occurred at the main parking lot at MHM this spring. One worker at MHM admitted that smaller spills are routine in the refueling of snow-cats and tractors.
What Can You Do?
Write to the USFS:
Daina Bambe, District Ranger, Hood River Ranger Station
6780 Highway 35, Mount Hood, OR 97041
Gary Larsen, Supervisor, Mount Hood National Forest
16400 Champion Way
Sandy, OR 97055 (503) 668-1700
Would you like to help and become more involved?
Please call me at (541) 352-6228 or write to me:
Kate McCarthy, Friends of Mount Hood
PO Box 293, Hood River, OR 97041
Schedule my slide show for your group or club. I have revised it with these important new northside issues included. You will see our new map with overlays, showing the impact areas on the north slopes of Mount Hood.