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Mon., April 15, 2013

Don’t expand Mt. Spokane

The recent ruling to deny timber cutting on Mount Spokane is an excellent decision that benefits the ecosystem, recreational use and the ski area itself.

The proposed expansion of Mount Spokane ski area would have eliminated the only remaining subalpine old-growth forest in Spokane County and highly fragmented the county’s most-intact wildlife habitat.

Skiers benefit from not expanding the ski area by having easy access to a unique off-piste area. Keeping the backside of Mount Spokane free of lifts and cut runs allows the ski area to offer expert terrain. Developing the backside, in contrast, will just add more intermediate terrain, something the area already has in abundance. By maintaining this unique backcountry, Mount Spokane ski area can attract skiers of all abilities, increasing its ticket sales.

The purpose of the state parks is to provide “recreational and learning opportunities for visitors, while protecting our state’s natural areas and cultural assets.” The expansion of Mount Spokane undermines this by devoting the entire summit to a single purpose. A ski area already dominates three-fourths of the mountain. Should we not leave some for wildlife, nature and those who wish to enjoy it as it is?

Greg Gordon


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