Outdoors

Mt. Spokane ski expansion plan comment ends Tuesday

Brad McQuarrie, right, manager of Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, skis down a road on the undeveloped Northwest side of the mountain on Friday, March 11, 2011.  The area is only used by advanced skiers who leave the patrolled boundaries of the park, but the ski area would like to open the Northwest face of the mountain in a proposed expansion by adding runs through timber and some open glades. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Brad McQuarrie, right, manager of Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, skis down a road on the undeveloped Northwest side of the mountain on Friday, March 11, 2011. The area is only used by advanced skiers who leave the patrolled boundaries of the park, but the ski area would like to open the Northwest face of the mountain in a proposed expansion by adding runs through timber and some open glades. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

PUBLIC LANDS — A years-old effort to expand lift-assisted skiing to the “back side” of Mount Spokane State Park will enter its final stage with Tuesday’s deadline for public comment on environmental impacts.

Details are on the Washington State Parks planning website.

Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park has been seeking permission from Washington State Parks to add a lift and expand the downhill ski area into the forested northwest side of the mountain. Ski area managers say they need to expand their terrain to remain competitive with other area ski resorts.

Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists have warned that clearing ski runs could impact wetlands and other wildlife habitat in the remaining third of the upper mountain not already impacted by the ski area.

Groups such as The Lands Council, Spokane Mountaineers and Sierra Club oppose the expansion, saying the resort should spend money upgrading existing facilities rather than invading an intact forest and meadows favored by backcountry skiers.

Comments should be directed to:

Project lead: Randy Kline, Environmental Program Manager
E-mail: randy.kline@parks.wa.gov 

Mail: P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650

Also underway, the State Parks Commission is seeking input about the future of Washington State Parks  including Mount Spokane and Riverside State Park.

Links:

Mt. Spokane Ski Area Expansion

Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park

Mt. Spokane Coalition

Washington State Parks – Beyond 2013




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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