During the many discussions that took place about Blue Knob Resort (and the reported sale of BK) last Fall regarding possible erosion and environmental damage I was often asked if I had any pictures to post. At the time I decided not to post any pictures because I felt that in doing so, I would take the discussion away from skiing and boarding. However, now that the ski season in the mid-Atlantic is almost over, I feel that this is a good time to post a few pictures. The pictures were taken over the past several Summers and were taken by myself and officers of a regional Sierra Club chapter. Here's the link: http://community.webshots.com/album/304819999VjDavD
It should be noted that over 500 pictures have been taken of BK by environmentalists, so it's kinda difficult to decide just which pictures to post.
Thanks MM. I have some pictures too, but mine were from last week.
By skiing it in the winter you have no idea how bad it is underneath.
I can see why it takes so much snow packing and 'grooming' to open.
A friend dropped by and gave me a few more off-season picks of different BK ski slopes. I think that these pictures are a little more graphic than the ones that I've posted. I'll try to get them scanned and posted next week.
First off thanks for posting the pictures. I have been curious for a while about what exactly the slopes of Blue Knob looked like in the summer. The first thought that crossed my mind while looking at these pictures was that most of them were not of the ski slopes, so I was wondering if you have any pictures of the actual slopes. I would like to see the damage that has been done to them. Also since you are up there a lot you have a lot of knowledge about what the slopes are like so I have a few questions.
1 How does the upper mountain slopes compare to the lower mountain ones. Are they mostly grass, or are they rocky like the Stembogen Bowl is.
2 do most of the lower mountain slopes look as bad as Stembogen. Have anything been done to combat erosion on those slopes.
3 Your picture of the East Wall Glade showed what to me seamed to be a relatively cleared glade. It seamed that the skiing area was mostly grass with no more rocks then what I would expect in most glades. Was this picture misleading or not and is there a better picture of the actual skiing area of that glade.
With that being said I'll make a few comments. The Stembogen Bowl and Boneyard Glades looked truly horrifying. There defiantly needs to be something done to these two trails to fix that. However before I jump to the conclusion that all of Blue Knob looks this bad I would like to see more pictures of the actual skiing areas. I don't want this to come across the wrong way, but when I look at these pictures I kept in mind that you obviously have a point you want to make and these pictures are your tool to prove that point. What I am hoping is to see pictures that show Blue Knob from a more neutral perspective. We all have seen how bad at least some of Blue Knob is so please show us what the rest of the area is like.
Also, I would like to thank you for sharing all of these problems at Blue Knob to us. I know at first it was something a lot of us (including me) probably didn't believe or want to hear, but I feel like the attitude here has changed to the point where now is the perfect time to discuss this topic in detail. Talk about the power of DCSki, it was this website that finally made me go to Blue Knob two years ago and one of MM early posts that brought me out of lurker status and into being an active participant.
One final thought. Since we all seam to be very passionate about Blue Knob here maybe we should try to organize a DCSki volunteering day to help restore BK to its former glory. Thai is if the owners would be receptive to us doing something like that.
Forget a volunteer day. I think we should all organize and buy the place. Model it after the Mad River Glen structure. Then we can all volunteer to help clean it up.
I'm with Roy. I can't believe these folks expect to operate a ski area on terrain like this! I'll volunteer to join the co-op. Mid Atlantic Mad River Glen? Anyone know where we can get a single chair?
Whew. Running a ski area on the cheap ain't pretty.
I actually felt physically ill looking at those photos. How do these people get away with this?
Shearer, thanks for the comments, I'm sorry that I'm a bit late in responding but I've been out of town and away from a computer most of the time. Although some of the pictures weren't of the ski slopes, ALL of the pictures were taken within the land area controlled by Blue Knob All Seasons Resort. This land is also used for shuttle serviced mountain biking as well as cross-country/back country skiing. With the exception of 3 pictures, the areas shown are of lift serviced ski slopes or VERY close to the ski slopes. As for the picture of the East Wall glade, what appears to be grass is actually straw that had been thrown down over the rocks and stumps. I might add that the straw was washed away by the rains that came soon after it was put down. And, as far as I know, a little bit of straw was the only thing that was done to the East Wall glades after the logging was completed.
I would also like to see that something is done to repair the logging damage that many believe has been done to BK. However, I believe that BK is in such bad shape right now that fixing most of the damage wouldn't be realistic. I know that some of the prospective buyers of BK have sited the high expense of environmental clean-up and/or erosion control as a reason for declining to make an offer to buy Blue Knob.
The next bunch of pictures that I post will feature more of the lift serviced ski slope areas, including pictures of the State Park land that BK leases from the Commonwealth of PA.
Now that I looked really close at the pictures of the East Wall Glade I can see that what I had thought was grass was indeed just straw. I could even make out some rocks underneath that hay. I guess that proves to me that the entire lower mountain is in pretty poor shape.
I am looking forward to your next batch of pictures. It really is a sham what is happening there. Mountain Masher have you or any other people done any kind of estimates on what the cost of the slope restoration would be and what would be needed to done. I am curious to find out more about this problem now.
Shearer, the estimates to clean-up and fix just the lift-serviced ski slope areas and the huge clear-cut area (located on State Park land between the tubing park and the beginners slope) range from about 2 to 3 million. Of course this would exclude another 750 acres or so (of land controlled by Blue Knob Resort) located just downstream from the ski slopes. Keep in mind that the land can never be returned to it's condition prior to the logging and it would now be difficult to create proper gladed ski slopes, given the current condition of the so-called glades.
To answer snowcone's question, someone got away with all of this damage because the Commonwealth of PA has been in FULL support of the logging and clear-cutting at BK from the very beginning. I have seen letters where PA Department of Environmental Protection has cited Blue Knob Resort for environmentalism and using Best Management Practices (BMP) during the logging at BK. In fact, the Republican leadership of the PA legislature held a conference at BK about 2 1/2 years ago; the theme of this conference was how Blue Knob Resort represented a "model of cooperation" between PA Dept. of State Parks and a concessionaire leasing land from the Commonwealth of PA. The Sierra Club got wind of this conference and sent a representative to offer an opposing view; however, the Sierra Club rep. was BLOCKED from speaking to the group. So the Sierra Club rep. then provided documentation, which included pictures of some of the damage. To date the Commonweath of PA has continued to support BK as an exemplary example of a concessionaire protecting the environment while doing business with PA Dep. of State Parks. Two things that really disturb me about all of this are: The fact that 100% of BK falls within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and PA is under a multi-state agreement to protect the Bay. The fact that the State Park land that was logged by BK Resort was DONATED to PA from the US Park Service for the explicit purpose of preservation!