Commissioner Rose Announces Final Decision on Mount Sunapee
(Newbury, NH) Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) Commissioner Jeffrey Rose presented his approval of the Mount Sunapee Resort’s Revised Master Development Plan/Environmental Management Plan at a meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission on March 17.
“The revised plan I have approved today represents a balanced and responsible project,” said Rose. “The ability to bring recreation, conservation, and economic promotion together in a thoughtful way is one of the defining attributes of the agency and our State.”
Highlights of the final decision include:
- Approves all projects within the Revised Master Development Plan (RMDP) except for the Mountain Coaster
- Requires all 150 acres associated with ski area expansion and facilities in the West Bowl (WB) be transferred to the State
- Requires an additional donation of 260 acres as conservation lands be transferred to the State (with deed restrictions) prior to any construction
- Adds an additional 10-year renewal option to the lease
- Eliminates ski trails within the Exemplary Natural Community (Polygon D)
- Formally protects the East Bowl – which contains Old Growth Forest
- Adds a minimum of 70 acres to the regional Exemplary Natural Community
- Safeguards established if the town of Goshen were to change its zoning within its Sunapee Recreation District (NOTE: Private lands adjacent to Mount Sunapee State Park are within Goshen’s Recreation District, which does not allow for residential and commercial real estate development.)
- Establishes a cooperative maintenance agreement to ensure protection of year-round hiking on the Summit Trail and minimizes trail impacts
- Mount Sunapee Resort provides funds to Natural Heritage Bureau to develop Ecological Assessment tool
Following careful consideration of public comments and consultation with various stakeholders since June 2014, DRED has refined the conditions of the MDP/EMP and the proposed West Bowl expansion. There are components of this revised plan that require the approval of the Governor and Executive Council. These items have been submitted for consideration at the March 23, 2016 Governor and Council meeting.
“Our family has made a significant long-term commitment and investment in Mount Sunapee’s future,” Tim Mueller, manager, Mount Sunapee Resort. “We are pleased with DRED’s approval of our master plan, and we are looking forward to working with them to bring it into reality. The balances recreation and conservation, along with economic vitality for our region and Mount Sunapee’s competitive future.”
In his decision, Rose said the plan would establish a cooperative agreement between DRED, Mount Sunapee Resort and the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition to maintain year-round hiking on the Summit Trail and protect the safety and stewardship of the trails.
“I appreciate the work of Commissioner Rose and the agency to ensure the long term protection and viability of four-season hiking on the Summit Trail,” said Tom Lawton, co-chairman of the SRK Greenway Coalition. “Today’s decision demonstrates the importance of diverse recreational opportunities at Mount Sunapee and a commitment to one of the jewels within our treasured trail network.”
Based on economic analysis, the towns of Goshen and Newbury, as well as the State, could see increased property tax revenue.
“The town of Goshen respects the thorough and thoughtful review process the agency undertook in carefully considering the Mount Sunapee Master Development Plan,” said Robert Bell, chairman of the Goshen board of selectmen. “We are pleased the West Bowl expansion has been approved by the Commissioner and look forward to the project moving forward.”
For further details of today’s decision, including maps, statements, a copies of the Revised MDP/EMP, Conditions Letter, and Lease Amendment visit – www.nhstateparks.org under About Us/Commissions and Committees.
About New Hampshire Division of Parks & Recreation
The Division of Parks and Recreation is comprised of the Bureau of Park Operations, Bureau of Historic Sites, Bureau of Trails, and Cannon Mountain. The Division manages 92 properties, including state parks, beaches, campgrounds, historic sites, trails, waysides, and natural areas. The Division of Parks and Recreation is one of four divisions of the Department of Resources and Economic Development. To learn more, visit www.nhstateparks.org or call 603/271-3556.