When Mount Hood Meadows Oregon, Ltd., the operator of the ski area, applied to the U.S. Forest Service in the spring of 1988 for a new Master Plan, the proposal was viewed with alarm by many people. In addition to new chair lifts and facilities, the proposal included
- the development of over 1,500 units of overnight accommodation,
- a mountain restaurant near the Timberline trail,
- a change in the existing winter recreation designation to also allow summer activities,
- a 759 acre expansion of the permit area into the White River drainage.
It was at this time that Friends of Mount Hood was formed by concerned individuals opposed to the development advocated by the management of the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area. A primary concern was that the construction and year round operation of overnight accommodations would cause irreparable damage to the wetlands, streams, and fragile alpine meadows in the vicinity. Furthermore, the proposed expansion into the White River drainage was viewed as being inconsistent with the classification of the White River as a wild and scenic river.
From this beginning, Friends of Mount Hood has evolved into the watch dog for Mount Hood. Over the years Friends of Mount Hood has opposed various plans for major resort developments at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area, a destination resort near the Cooper Spur Ski Area, and most recently, a proposal to construct a downhill mountain bike facility at Timberline Lodge.
Friends of Mount Hood monitors all of the projects proposed for the Mt. Hood National Forest. Friends of Mount Hood reviews projects and submits comments when there are issues that are not in the best interest of the mountain. Friends of Mount Hood attempts to make changes to projects which are harmful by engaging with the Forest Service or the project developers. As a last resort, Friends of Mount Hood has gone to court in order to carry out its mission.