Winter sports enthusiasts and environmental activists have been fighting about the future of the Mount Ashland ski area for 20 years, ever since the U.S. Forest Service began studying proposals to expand the ski area in the late 1980s.
Beginners will have an easier time making their way down Mt.
Proponents and opponents of a planned expansion of the Mt.
Follow these links to find electronic versions of documents related to the proposed Mount Ashland expansion.
1991: The U.S. Forest Service gives the Mount Ashland ski area approval to add new trails and a chairlift on the north side of the mountain after cross-country skiers oppose opening proposals to build a chairlift on the south side.
1993: Skiers and snowboarders raise more than $1 million, including a $500,000 lottery grant, to buy the ski area after its owner announces plans to close it and move the equipment. Donations are received by the city of Ashland, which takes over the permit issued by the Forest Service. A new nonprofit organization, the Mount Ashland Association, takes over management of the ski area and signs a lease with the city.
1998: The Mount Ashland Association announces plans to expand, using the 1991 plan. Environmental activists question the wisdom of expanding into undeveloped forest land, although the area has been designated for developed recreation.
2000: Forest Service releases a draft environmental impact statement for the expansion. Public comments about the planís effect on the Pacific fisher and concerns about erosion prompt the agency to prepare a second draft environmental review, which appears in 2003.
August 2004: Final environmental impact statement released.
September 2004: Forest Service selects an expansion plan that includes 16 new ski trails, two new chairlifts, a tubing area, and 200 additional parking spaces.
January 2005: Three environmental groups sue the Forest Service, claiming the environmental impact statement failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.
August 2006: Environmental groups and the ski area make oral arguments in federal court in Medford.
September 2006: U.S. District Court Judge Owen Panner rejects the environmental groupsís claims. Ski area begins plans to expand.
October 2006: City of Ashland officials direct the Forest Service to send all formal correspondence about tree cutting related to the expansion to the city, not the Mount Ashland Association.
February 2007: City officials and the Mount Ashland Association agree to mediation to attempt to resolve disagreements over who should oversee the expansion.
February 2007: Environmental groups announce their plan to appeal Pannerís decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
May 2007: Mediation efforts between the city of Ashland and ski area managers end without resolution.
July 2007: Mount Ashland Association sues the city of Ashland, alleging the cityís meddling in expansion planning violated its contract with the association.
July 2007: Ninth Circuit judges hear oral arguments in Portland. Expansion foes argue the Forest Service failed to consider the planís effects on the pacific fisher and failed to protect wetlands and streams.
September 2007: Ninth Circuit blocks ski area expansion until shortcomings in the Forest Service environmental plan are corrected.