Recent photos of the main ski slopes at Blue Knob
May 3, 2005
Here are some more pictures of Blue Knob ski area, including some pictures of the conventional ski slopes that were taken on April 20 and 21. I've also included a few more pictures that were taken over the past couple of years. The link is: http://community.webshots.com/album/332678678eGSoiO
I might add that this is the 3rd (and final) album showing off-season pictures of Blue Knob ski area, Blue Knob resort, and the watershed below BK ski area. To view the other 2 albums, go to the upper left hand corner of the webshots page applicable to the aforementioned link and the other albums of BK are listed there. I think that the level of environmental damage that took place as a result of the logging at Blue Knob is highly unusual. I have hiked and biked a large number of ski areas in the off-season and have never seen anything like the destruction and erosion at Blue Knob. What's even more amazing is the fact that the Commonwealth of PA remains in full support of what has happened at BK. In fact, some of the destruction took place on Blue Knob State Park land. This land was originally donated from the US Park Service to PA for the purpose of preservation. For the most part, the local PA media outlets have been hesitant to report on any of the environmental damage at Blue Knob. They've often claimed that they don't really cover environmental issues, and their main concern was (and is) helping ensure that Blue Knob Ski Area stay open. It should be noted that none of the pictures (in the 3 albums) were taken by professionals; and, for the most part, only cheap disposable cameras were used. To me, the environmental damage looked a lot worse than what the pictures reveal.
I can not remember ever seeing photos of ski runs that appear to be all rocky road. Amazing.
Must be a lot of politics and money changing hands.
You bet! There is (or was) probably a lot of dirty politics and money changing hands over Blue Knob! Among other things, about 3 years ago, the Blair County, PA District Attorney (the lower part of Blue Knob sets within Blair County) had completed an investigation of possible timber theft at Blue Knob with a finding that timber was likely being stolen. (I know, because I used to own several lots within BK Resort.) However, one of the Blair County Commissioners requested that the owners of Blue Knob ski area come up from Northern VA to meet with him. I don't know what was said in the meeting because it was strictly closed door, but I do know that the timber theft prosecution was cancelled by the DA within days of the "backroom meeting" between the owners of BK and the Blair County Commissioner. (The Commissioner's official claim was that a prosecution would cost the County too much money.) And, worse yet, the logging continued. But the State of PA is also responsible for this mess; after most of the ski slope areas had been logged, Blue Knob State Park allowed the owners of BK ski area to conduct logging on the PUBLIC land that is located near the summit of Blue Knob. I have over a dozen letters from various PA officials (some of them very high level) that praise Blue Knob Resort for "Best Management Practices" (BMP) and environmentalism. It's widely believed that more than a few PA officials received kick-backs from the massive logging operation. Since the Commonwealth of PA hasn't (and isn't) going to do anything about the BK mess, it's my hope to get national media coverage of the BK logging story. By the way, can you see why no one wants to buy BK?
If I had the money I would almost buy it just to fix it because the condition is so sorryful.
I wonder if national groups like the Sierra Club would take an interest in this mess. Wishful thinking? It makes me physically ill to see the destruction. I know this kind of thing goes on all over the US and is probably getting a lot worse with the gutting of countless environmental and preservation laws. There must be something that can be done .. I just don't know what or where to start. Suffice it to say, I have no intention of ever again skiing Blue Knob ... I will not pay lift fees to the company that is the instigator of such distruction. Hmmm .. boycott BK?
Wow, Just Wow...not much to say. Most of the trails resemble dry, rocky stream beds. I wouldn't even take my rock skis there. I'll have to take a trip over there this summer just to experience it first hand.
Mountain Masher, I think that I owe you an apology. Due to your frequent posts citing the shortcomings of BK, I had pegged you in my mind as being 'too close to the situation to be objective'; as a result I viewed your opinions with a rather large grain of salt. But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The condition of BK is nothing short of astounding, especially when you consider that BK is basically public land.
The downed timber is located on the South side of Blue Knob (within BK State Park). It would be better (for environmental reasons) that the downed timber be left as is. For example, most of the timber that was downed as a result of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens (covering tens of thousands of acres) was left in place because it was determined that it would prevent erosion and allow a quicker recovery. And, now the NEEDLESS clear-cutting (on State Park land) that was completed by Blue Knob ski area, looms even larger because everyone can now see that it would have been important to have preserved those (rare) old-growth, altitude stunted oaks. Also, the high winds did not hit the North side of Blue Knob, so those trees would have been standing today if the ski area operator hadn't cut them all down!
I agree. Those pictures are appalling.
snowcone, dating back over 5 years ago, a local Pennsylvania Sierra Club Chapter (the now defunct Headwaters Chapter, based out of Johnstown, PA) took an interest in the Blue Knob environmental disaster, which has included: on-site hikes and inspections, articles, editorials and letter writing. In fact, it was a local Sierra Club Officer who (nearly 4 years ago) called the South Poplar Run watershed below BK ski area a ticking time-bomb and warned of possible property damage and loss of life during a heavy rain (sadly, BOTH have now happened over the past year). However, the Sierra Club is woefully under-funded in Central and Western PA. And since the Govt. of PA has not only been unresponsive to environmental groups, but actually proud of the way that the ski area side of the mountain has been managed, it's been virtually impossible to get anything done. However, having said this, I think that things have now reached what I would call "critical mass" at BK due to the fact that the erosion is worse than ever. I truly believe that there's going to be some national news media (and/or environmental groups at the national level) coverage of the environmental disaster at BK within the next year or so. In the meantime, I fully expect the Govt. of PA to continue their "stone-walling".
As kind of an after-thought, I went up to the summit of BK on May 1 where I photographed a dump that is located along the East side of the ski area's lower parking lot. I wish to stress that this dump is located on State Park land and is operated by the ski area with the full permission of BK State Park. Frankly, I find the entire situation a little bizarre as one would think that there would be a better place for a dump than very near the top of the second highest point in PA. Also, there are some pictures of trash located at the bottom of the mountain (on privately owned land) near the loading areas for the double chairlifts. And finally, I've included an aviation photo of BK ski area that was taken around 1970, which shows that there were lots of trees and the mountain to be in relatively pristine condition at that time. The link is: http://community.webshots.com/album/337715498VXBhAe
It should be noted that 3 other albums of BK can be reached by going to the upper left-hand area of the first webshots page that loads when you click on the aforementioned link.
Interesting, I can tell that the terra server image of Blue Knob was taken after the addition of the Expressway triple chairlift and Expressway and Deer Run ski slopes (about 1985), but BEFORE the relatively recent logging operation and ski slope expansion (about 19 gladed ski slopes were added and several large clear-cuts were completed, including an area for a 3rd snowmaking lake). Thanks for the pics, bawalker.