statement on the proposed destination resort and ski area
expansion on the NE side of Mt. Hood
In March 2002, the Mazamas
Executive Council approved our organization's position on this
a mountaineering organization established July 19, 1894 on the summit of
Mt. Hood, has a century long tradition of leadership, safety,
conservation, and climbing education in the Northwest.
The Mazamas’ mission is to "Provide a comprehensive
climbing program with allied activities that enhance and protect the
participants and the environment.”
The original 1894 (and current) bylaws of the Mazamas stated
as one of its primary purposes: " ... to explore mountains, to
disseminate authoritative and scientific information concerning them,
and to encourage the preservation of forests and others features of
mountains in their natural beauty."
come to the Mazamas’ attention that (1) Meadows North, LLC (an
affiliate of Mt. Hood Meadows Development Corporation, “Meadows”)
has consolidated its land holdings by purchasing the Cooper Spur Inn and
Ski Area and 156 acres of nearby land with the intention of developing
the ski area, (2) Hood River County has proposed to enter a land
exchange with Meadows, trading 620 acres owned by the County and located
adjacent to the Cooper Spur Inn and Ski Area for 750 acres owned by
Meadows and located in remote zoned forestland and (3) Meadows has
publicly proposed to develop the land it obtains in the exchange into a
4-season destination resort with approximately 450 new housing units, an
18-hole golf course, retail shops, and restaurants.
of the land currently owned by Meadows on the NE side of Mt. Hood and
the land at issue in the exchange and the surrounding area contains old
growth forests worthy of protection and provides a pristine backcountry
experience for Mazamas as well as recreationists from all over the
is also part of a key elk migration corridor, the sensitive Crystal
Springs watershed which provides drinking water for 2,000 nearby
residents, and the East Fork Hood River watershed.
The land and surrounding public and private land is an important
part of Mazamas’ history as well as an essential element of the
natural heritage for the entire region and in particular the citizens of
Hood River County, neighboring counties and the residents of Portland.
residents and citizen groups, including many members of the Mazamas,
have raised a substantial question about the legality of the land
exchange. The Oregon
Revised Statutes require that the land be exchanged for “equal
value” and be in the “public interest.”
Here, the exchange agreement illegally excluded the potential
development value of the property without further analysis.
Here, the County specifically limited the appraisal to not
include the full development potential of the land while it
simultaneously is taking action to open up the ability of Meadows to
develop this land.
Due to the
nature of the land at issue, the Mazamas request that all lands subject
to the exchange remain as forestlands, that Hood River County land be
retained in public ownership, and that the County consider purchasing
the desired forestland from Meadows if it is determined to be in the
the Mazamas, and its interested members, demand that Hood River County,
at a minimum, comply with state law governing exchanges of County
forestland by allowing the public to provide input on the exchange and
by hiring a qualified appraiser to properly assess the valuation of the
properties at issue.
the Mazamas oppose the expansion of the Cooper Spur Inn ski area or the
surrounding land at issue including, development of a 4-season
destination resort, a golf course of any kind, and the development of
any new ski lifts or ski runs on the land at issue.
Mazamas Conservation Committee