Chairlift Stalled by Court of Appeals

By Paige Browning

Ski mountain developers got unwanted notice Tuesday to slow down plans for expanding terrain at Mount Spokane. A state appeals court ruled the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission failed to do an environmental review of how new ski runs would affect the old growth forest.
 
Parks and recreation had given Mount Spokane 2000, the concessionaire, permission to cut runs into the western facing slope. The appeals court’s decision means for MS 2000 to move forward, it needs to resubmit its proposal to the commission. Mount Spokane General Manager Brad McQuarrie has worked on the proposal for eight years.
 
McQuarrie: “This decision is saying that part of the process needs to be…redone. My faith isn’t lost in parks, and I believe they will take that decision and figure out how to be in compliance with the rules and regulations of Washington state.” (:16)
 
State parks spokesperson Virginia Painter says if Mount Spokane proposes the expansion again, her department must do an environmental assessment this time around.
 
Painter: “Then in that process ultimately, after the environmental impact statement, the commission would make a classification for the area and then make a determination on whether project development would begin.”
 
MS 2000 wants to cut seven new ski runs and install a new chairlift, the Red Chair, which they had delivered earlier this summer.
 
The Lands Council of Spokane brought forth the appeal, giving the argument that the chairlift would negatively affect wildlife in the state park.
 
Copyright 2013 Spokane Public Radio
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