We have been getting a few questions lately regarding the timeline of work that needs to be completed before the backside improvements are realized. Here is the scoop:
Next week, your Mt. Spokane Operations Crew is heading over to Bridger Bowl in Bozeman, Montana to dismantle and ship the “Red Chair” to Spokane. Kristin will be taking lots of pictures and video of the process, so stay tuned! Once the Chair arrives in Spokane, it will be re-engineered and modified for installation on the backside once the trails have been cleared.
In the meantime, The Lands Council, an environmental special interest group, has continued working to delay our project. They appealed the Timber Harvest permit previously issued by Spokane County on January 14th, 2013. That appeal went to the Spokane Hearing Examiner in March 2013, and a decision was rendered last week, in which the hearing examiner said that while the project remains viable, additional, detailed information is needed. Our vision for the expansion remains strong, yet a series of very technical, specific questions posed by the opposition need to be addressed. We are confident that Spokane County, whose land use experience can lend expertise, and we’ll work with them over the next few weeks to answer questions and provide additional details before resubmitting the permit application.
The same group filed an appeal on the Washington State Parks Commission’s land classification of the backside, which was thrown out in summary judgment in February 2012. They appealed again to the Superior Court. That appeal was heard last week in Tacoma, and a decision will be made in another 4-6 weeks.
This is disappointing to all of us, as we’ve worked really hard with the Spokane community and regulatory agencies to create a plan that many believe balances recreation and stewardship priorities. Over the past decade, MS 2000 has conducted extensive studies, planning and public process that involved the participation and collaboration of numerous public agencies and organizations, including an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
While we hoped to get the new runs cleared by now, these appeals have delayed the process. Under the new schedule, we are shooting for a late summer/fall trail clearing, with installation of the new chairlift next summer.
Thank you for your continued patience and support. We’ll keep you updated.
Brad McQuarrie, GM, Mt. Spokane
Photo courtesy Bridger Bowl Ski Area