Are Environmentalist trying to kill tourism is WV?
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SCWVA
January 25, 2008
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
It seems that the environmentalists are trying to sneak a bill through the WV legislature to cut off access to some of the prime Mt. biking in WV. It appears that most if not all of this area is already protected.

WV Mt. Biking Article

Please contact the WV Legislature.

Here's a link to the WV Legislature.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
January 25, 2008
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,218 posts
This bill is in the US Congress. We need to contact Sen. Byrd's office, not the WV legislature.
crunchy
January 25, 2008
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
I'd rather have Dolly Sods north protected rather than another place to mountain bike. It means the area will never ever change or be at risk of the USFS doing whatever it wants with it. Like sell it off to developers or let the military test explosives. Theres plenty of other places to mtn bike in the highlands.

Protect the Sods \:\)
SCWVA
January 25, 2008
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
 Originally Posted By: crunchy
I'd rather have Dolly Sods north protected.....................Like sell it off to developers or let the military test explosives....Protect the Sods \:\)


We can't do this and allow mtn. biking?


More info on WVMBA

BTW is this Canaanman??
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Roger Z
January 25, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
 Quote:
Theres plenty of other places to mtn bike in the highlands.


Perhaps, but this is something bikers and hikers should be working on together. The environmental coalition cannot afford these types of schisms if they're serious about land conservation.
tgd
January 25, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
That's part of the problem. Apparently this wilderness bill was drafted without the input or knowledge of WVMBA or IMBA. Wilderness advocates had access to the information about what areas were being considered months before Mountain biking advocates. Actually, the West Virginia Wilderness Society has gone a long way towards burning all bridges with IMBA and WVMBA with the underhanded manner in which this bill was handled. I wouldn't expect much cooperation between these organizations in the future.

Tom
tgd
January 25, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
 Originally Posted By: crunchy
I'd rather have Dolly Sods north protected rather than another place to mountain bike. It means the area will never ever change or be at risk of the USFS doing whatever it wants with it. Like sell it off to developers or let the military test explosives. Theres plenty of other places to mtn bike in the highlands.

Protect the Sods \:\)


You know Crunch, there are plenty more places to hike in the Mon as well if you want to follow this line of thinking to its conclusion.

IMHO, the mountain biking community in WVA and nationwide tends to get shafted when they attempt to work with other wilderness and environmental groups to protect land. Sure, there have been a few examples where this cooperation has worked - such as the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act. But this latest West Virginia Wilderness Bill and recent moves to close the Continental Divide Trail show that mountain bike advocates must view their so-called environmental allies with a wary eye.

Another thing about Dolly Sods North - this is hardly an area that meets basic criteria for Wilderness - "a region where the land is left in a state where human modifications are minimal". The Sods is almost entirely characterized by human impact. From the fires that created the barren landscape, to the maze of jeep roads, to the unexploded ordinance that still lays hidden in the bush up there from when the area was used for artillery practice by the Army.

There are also provisions to make exceptions for limited "mechanized" access in Wilderness areas that could have been used to allow the continued use of bicycles in the areas being considered. Of course, there were not considered as this bill was crafted unilaterally without the input of a major user group - Mountain bikers.

Tom
David
January 25, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
Well things could have been a lot more drastic if the Wild Mon people would have gotten their way. As far as I understand they are somewhat upset with Congressman Rahall's bill because it leaves out a whole lot of land that they wished to be deemed "Wilderness". Matt Keller was here on campus last year talking about their plan and showing the maps the way they wanted it. Here is the link to the article I read a couple days ago on the matter:

http://www.wvhighlands.org/wv_voice/
fishnski
January 25, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Bikings cool & a must do over the summer but you can bike almost anywhere....you can only Quality ski from the highest, best & snowiest Mountains. That is my main concern. Will they forever take away any chance for WV to better its ski State? I would love to be a fly on the wall in some of these discusions taking place to see how much importance is put on Skiing....We need one or 2 sides of the Roaring plains put aside for some of the least envirementaly intrusive forms of Recreation....SKIING...
Roger Z
January 25, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I find it amusing that the Wilderness Act defines bicycles as "mechanized travel" and is therefore banned in wilderness areas, but horses are allowed. Recalling the purpose of the Wilderness Act- http://www.foresthistory.org/research/usfscoll/policy/Wilderness/1964_Wilderness.html - it seems that horses are a) not native to the United States, North America, or the Western Hemisphere, b) can do significantly more damage to wilderness areas than bikes with their grazing and waste production, and therefore c) are not in keeping with the spirit of what wilderness areas are meant to be.

My preferred solution wouldn't be to see horses banned, but rather recognize that some of the very actions we're promoting in wilderness areas are at odds with the spirit of the law, perhaps more substantially so than permitting mountain bikes on trails. The Wilderness Act has been revised in the past, there's no reason it can't be revised again to recognize biking as a legitimate wilderness activity.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 26, 2008
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,923 posts
I have followed this issue for many years. Far from hurting tourism, wilderness areas are a huge draw for hikers, hunters, birdwatchers, and others. These areas make WV a unique and special draw for tourists. It's why most of us go to WV.

The wilderness status protects these areas from clear-cutting and other destructive uses. It's more important that additional wilderness areas are designated than it is to protect mountain biking terrain. I support some mountain biking on wilderness lands as long as there is some plan to maintain the trails, which become muddy and eroded with too much mountain biking. Also, mountain biking should be banned during certain times of year (breeding season for wildlife and hunting season).
Roger Z
January 26, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
 Quote:
Also, mountain biking should be banned during certain times of year (breeding season for wildlife and hunting season).


I think you're right, John, that trail maintenance for mountain bike use is essential, but they already have that for hiking and horses as well, so that should be fairly easy to include in planning (though things that seem obvious are often the most easily forgotten, so it's important to remember to raise the issue like you did).

Your quote above is interesting, because it appears to touch upon a larger, more contentious topic about wilderness areas, chiefly: do we manage wilderness areas principally for the ecosystem, or recreation? This is an underlying tension in the Wilderness Act itself, and the two are occasionally (perhaps often, depending on how pure you want to be in your understanding of an ecosystem) at odds.

Your idea seems reasonable, but it does raise questions about other activities and whether they should be limited during certain particularly sensitive ecological seasons as well. And the more we move toward an ecosystem approach, the more we have to acknowledge that it could potentially limit tourism by truncating recreational seasons. So my guess is WV or VA or other high-wilderness regions wouldn't be thrilled with moving too far that way. A lot of rural areas chaff about the reduced mineral and logging on federal land. To limit the recreational use as well could really be poorly received, to say the least.

None of this is really meant as an answer, just things to think about.
fishnski
January 26, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
[quote=johnfmh]I have followed this issue for many years. Far from hurting tourism, wilderness areas are a huge draw for hikers, hunters, birdwatchers, and others. These areas make WV a unique and special draw for tourists. It's why most of us go to WV.

1st of all..Are Hunters alowed in wilderness areas?...2nd of all Hikers,Bird Watchers Add up to about maybe a few hundred folks a year...A Quality Ski Area Like MPC would attract 100's of Thousands!.....Ask the Buisnesses in the area if they Support Great Skiing Or great Bird Watching/Hiking...By the Way, You can have it all with a great Ski area!
Roger Z
January 26, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
 Originally Posted By: fishnski
1st of all..Are Hunters alowed in wilderness areas?...


Yes.

 Quote:
2nd of all Hikers,Bird Watchers Add up to about maybe a few hundred folks a year...


Uh, no.
David
January 27, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
 Originally Posted By: fishnski

A Quality Ski Area Like MPC would attract 100's of Thousands!.....


Who didn't see this one coming?
fishnski
January 27, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Well Duhhhhhh!...Anybody that would put Bird Watching & Hiking Over a Ski Area Should not be Posting on DCSKI...This is a Ski Site For Skiers....If Potentially the Best Ski Area South Of Vermont don't Get Your Ski Bibs in an Uproar..Then you should be Blogging on the WV Highlands Conservatory site...Not here!
snosnugums
January 27, 2008
Member since 04/10/2006 🔗
126 posts
While all of us skiers would love to have a Mid-Atlantic ski area with more than 1,500 feet of vertical, let's face reality. MPC is what, 500 feet maybe higher in elevation than TL or CV. Where's the water supply for snow making... not there. Given the low elevations we have here in the banana belt, we're just not going to be able to have the massive snow making required to keep 2,000 feet of vertical white. If we could move one of those North Carolina mountains up to WV...say elevation 5,700, maybe we'd have a chance.
For all of you folks that are worried that MPC is going to turn into condo heaven...ain't going to happen. They can't populate CV and TL with enough skiers so why would someone want to invest in MPC. Pipe dream, baby!
I enjoy mountain biking, but heavily used trails tend to get eroded. Thus MB's need to take responsibility to see that the erosion is addressed.
Hey fishnski, loosen your shorts... every body's opinion is welcome here!
tromano
January 28, 2008
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
MTB is lower impact than horses on a trail. Considering MTBs are motorized vehicles is a quaint / silly idea.

As far as erosion... trails naturally erode. If vegetation is killed off enough to make a visible trail then that trail will naturally erode without the need of any MTBs to help it along. Trails need to be built properly to prevent erosion. If trails are built properly and can accommodate bikes then they aren't and issue. If the trails aren't built properly then its the trails are the issue, not whether bikes are there or not. Many trails / areas cannot be build to accommodate bikes and still have well built trails that resist erosion.
fishnski
January 28, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Snogums..If we are not supposed to discuss Global Warming & Politics at DCSKI..then Why should we be able to Discuss a hot issue like what to do with WV's Mountains?...As far as MPC We will just have to Agree to disagree..That Subject has been Beat to death Here....Oh..the rivers & Streams all around the roaring plains are ROARING right Now...1500' vert at snowshoe has been open for about a month now another 500' wouldn't be an issue..there is a foot & a Half of natural up there now...DAMB..I couldn't resist..I am Powerless over MPC!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
January 28, 2008
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,359 posts
I guess the subject "Are Environmentalist Trying to kill Tourism" is then a subject that we shouldn't discuss on this board whether your pro or con. Thus the subject should have been immediately cut off I would assume. The subject of the post is going to set off people, thus if this is a ski forum, then it shouldn't be approached this way so we don't have poster's insulting and name calling if they don't agree with another poster's opinion.

As far a MPC, it would be awesome. Ski development is certainly more environmentally friendly than mountain top coal mining. But once you get all of the real estate development, it is going to change this area. What ever happened to the Wisp folks proposal to restart a long failed ski venture. My opinion is that I don't think MPC is going to happen. Unfortunately, there's not enough skiers to support another ski venture in this area.
tgd
January 28, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
 Originally Posted By: johnfmh
Also, mountain biking should be banned during certain times of year (breeding season for wildlife and hunting season).


Oh please John, how much more disturbing to breeding wildlife are a couple mountain bikers versus a dozen squealing boy scouts hiking - or a large group of horseback tourists on a trail ride (all permissible uses of wilderness areas any time of year)? Follow my logic - there is nothing inherently disruptive about mountain bikes to wildlife getting their nasty on versus hikers, horseback riders, hunters, etc.... Sure bikes can move faster - but they are also in general noisier than foot travel and thus announce their presence way sooner than a walker - giving wildlife plenty of time to duck and cover.

I also don't believe bicyclists are more likely to get shot than a hiker or bird watcher or other hunter during hunting season. I've never seen any stats on this topic - but I've haven't heard this point of contention brought up before. Most of us tend to use common sense anyway and stay out of the killing fields during rifle season.

These are kind of old arguments that have been discredited before. You know the bicycle ban for wilderness areas came into effect 13 years after Congress passed the Wilderness Act in 1964. Congress originally intended to allow any form of human powered transport into Wilderness areas - read here. The bicycle ban was introduced later in 1977. Nothing to say we can't have our cake and eat it too - drop the bicycle ban and have wilderness too. It's not like you really see tons of bicycles in these areas anyway - and bicycles are not any more of an intrusion on solitude, recreation, or "wildness" than the unlimited numbers of hikers, birders, hunters, horses, hunting dogs, etc... that are allowed in Wilderness areas today.

Tom

KevR
January 28, 2008
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
You give up way too easily. FNS has no authority at all in this matter. It's up to Scott to decide and no one else -- and even then I remain somewhat unconvinced of this due to the fact that we are generating content for him. (are we gifting this content to him or do we get paid in some manner -- such as thru freedom of speech?)

anyway, post what you want I say ... let the problem rest on Scott's shoulders, not your own.
crunchy
January 28, 2008
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
well, i think the mtn biker groups are more in an uproar about it because some of the races or events held will be impacted by this. more than being able to ride recreationaly in say the sods for instance. they are screaming bloody murder right now, but apparently in the past have never bothered to participate much in any of the meetings about this topic.

seriously tho.. you can re-route a mountain bike race... you can't re-route these special areas.
camp
January 28, 2008
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: crunchy
... they are screaming bloody murder right now, but apparently in the past have never bothered to participate much in any of the meetings about this topic.

seriously tho.. you can re-route a mountain bike race... you can't re-route these special areas.
Not quite true. Bikers and WVMBA have always been at the table for these W meetings. We've all written our letters, posted on our blogs, beat the drums, rallied the troops etc. It's the under the table and backroom underhanded works by the W groups and WVHC that anger bikers so much.

In this case, there are no races or events in the affected proposed areas. The north Sods and Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek just happen to be as beautiful and desirable for mtn bikers as they are to any other users.
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tgd
January 28, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
 Originally Posted By: crunchy
well, i think the mtn biker groups are more in an uproar about it because some of the races or events held will be impacted by this. more than being able to ride recreationaly in say the sods for instance. they are screaming bloody murder right now, but apparently in the past have never bothered to participate much in any of the meetings about this topic.


Really Crunch? C'mon - I'm not happy about this Wilderness Act NOT because of some race, or because some of some group I belong to. As Camp posted - no mountain bike races will be impacted by these Wilderness designations.

I love mountain biking in the North Sods which I have done for the past 6 years generally several times each Summer. I have not ridden in the Roaring Plains; however, I have heard great things about the trails over there and plan to ride there soon. I am not happy because this act will take away access to public land where I currently enjoy access in favor of other user groups that have as much or greater impact on the land than my mountain bike.

It's not land protection that's the issue for mountain bikers - it's the ridiculous and exclusive policy to ban bikes in Wilderness areas that is at issue. This ban doesn't make sense, and as long as it stands I won't support expansion of wilderness areas in West Virginia or Virginia.

BTW, there are other congressionally-mandated protections such as a Scenic or Recreation Areas that can be used as an alternative to Wilderness. Wilderness advocates have worked hand-in-hand with mountain biking advocates in the past to ensure that established mountain bike trails affected by proposed wilderness areas are designated for continued bicycle access. This partnership was not exercised in the case of the West Virginia Wilderness Act.

Tom
fishnski
January 28, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
I Agree whole heartily with TGD...only problem is the fact that his mode of transportation is a little more unfriendly to the envirement...you see..he has more than 2 wheels..He still rides a tricycle! & when going down hills he digs his heels in to brake the darn thing....Sorry to bust you out Buddy!
tgd
January 28, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
 Originally Posted By: fishnski
I Agree whole heartily with TGD...only problem is the fact that his mode of transportation is a little more unfriendly to the envirement...you see..he has more than 2 wheels..He still rides a tricycle! & when going down hills he digs his heels in to brake the darn thing....Sorry to bust you out Buddy!


Whoa pal - that's not my bike, it's my old truck ya know: rusted out floorboards draggin' my feet Fred Flintstone-style. Besides, I'd never consider taking that old truck into the Sods - too hard to push up all them hills. Plus, the sight of big red comin' at 'em might keep all those rare birds from fornicatin' up in the trees.
crunchy
January 28, 2008
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: tgd
This partnership was not exercised in the case of the West Virginia Wilderness Act.


well i guess it comes down to a 'he said - she said' thing then because thats not what ive been told from people very close to it. when i raised that question, i was told that there were attempts at meetings to try and figure something out that the mtn bike community decided not to attend. I could have sworn it was mentioned that part of a race would now have to be re-routed....but oh well...

I love biking in sods north also, but the wilderness act goes far beyond mountain biking. is recreational riding really a threat? of course not! but protecting the area from usfs doing whatever it wants with it is really the issue here, and to do that it needs to be federally protected wilderness, plain and simple. it so happens that no mechanized vehicles fall under that. the bill is not meant to be in favor or against any specific group. its in favor of federally protecting special areas. it was never meant to be about mtn bikers vs wilderness coalition, but its turned out that way sadly. both sides have valid arguments, but this whole thing about wilderness coalition being underhanded in sneaking some bill or proposal through is silly. its not like this a new proposal, its been out there a long time.

anyway, i don't think we need to argue this here, or at all.. maybe in the biking forum tho \:\)
David
January 28, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
 Originally Posted By: crunchy

I love biking in sods north also, but the wilderness act goes far beyond mountain biking. is recreational riding really a threat? of course not! but protecting the area from usfs doing whatever it wants with it is really the issue here, and to do that it needs to be federally protected wilderness, plain and simple. it so happens that no mechanized vehicles fall under that. the bill is not meant to be in favor or against any specific group. its in favor of federally protecting special areas.



You hit the nail exactly on the head. The Wild Mon group's whole reason for the Wilderness Act is to protect as much land as possible. They do not necessarily want to protect it from mtn. bikers or vehicles, they want to protect it from EVER being logged, clear cut, drilled, etc. Being apart of the National Forest alone does not protect it from these things. The only true way to protect it is for it to be congressionally declared wilderness.
camp
January 28, 2008
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: crunchy
[quote=tgd] .... but protecting the area from usfs doing whatever it wants with it is really the issue here, and to do that it needs to be federally protected wilderness, plain and simple. ...
That is just so not true. There are several other designations that could be used to protect against logging, mining, and extraction. The WVWC and WVHC want nothing short of a big "W" wilderness.

Virginia's Ridge and Valley Act, Nat'l Scenic Area, and 6.2 designations are some of the alternatives.
Roger Z
January 28, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
But all of this is just getting back to the original point I made... bikers and hikers are sniping at each other about this. Sure, maybe- maybe- the wilderness areas get expanded this round, but what about next time? Without a change in designated uses for wilderness areas, does anyone think the mountain bikers are going to be "taking one for the team" the next time a proposed expansion comes up?

On top of that, the USFS can't simply do "whatever they want" with the land. There are lengthy public review processes that go into planning public land, and if the public processes aren't solid the new plans get thrown out in court quite frequently. It's not perfect, and it's not a long-term solution, but it makes me skeptical that the USFS is going to do anything to the northern Sods anytime soon. It's too high-use of an area, and what exactly does the area have for public resources? The trees are gone, it's not prime coal country.

Wind power? Who's gonna bring the turbines up FR75? I've got a photo of a prop for one of those turbines in the parking lot of a hotel I stayed at in far eastern Colorado- the stupid things are 60+ feet long. You can't bring them in by helicopter, they need an 18 wheeler. No trucker gets paid enough to try to bring one of those props up there, much less an entire field of them.

To me, on the balance it seems best to hold off on any wilderness designations (at least as far as the northen Sods are concerned) until all the parties have had a chance to work something more mutually beneficial out. There appears to be more potential harm with rushing this through than waiting a few more years.
RyanC
January 30, 2008
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Most of the areas that are not currently protected in the WV highlands region should be protected from development, logging, and motorized transport. Most people agree on this. I don't see how mountain biking in most areas would have much of a negative impact on the encironment.

The real issue is this: Any effect mountain biking would have (I say it would have zero negative environmental impact assuming there are a select few very sensitive areas where it is off limits) pales in comparison to what would happen if additional protections (i.e. national park, wilderness designation, etc) are not put in place:

-Corporate interests aided by the political structure in WV would be sure to rape the environment to the degree that they are allowed by law. With no local zoning regulations, nothing is far-fetched. The proposed 'TRAIL' line is just the beginning!

-Scenic views would be replaced by views of Wal-Marts, schools for teenage parents, prisons, etc. Certainly NOT what most of the politically unrepresented & disenfranchised property owners in the valley paid a premium for.

The list goes on and on. Basically, the whole corridor from Deep Creek Lake to Snowshoe is the gem of the mid-atlantic. The elevation, weather, outdoor activities, etc. There is a lot to capitalize on.

If protected properly, this region could be a major economic engine for WV. I'm not "anti-development". The general area does need more business/development/jobs. The question is: What kind of jobs? Wal-Mart and/or a state prison isn't going to be any better for local residents than an economic development model capitalizing on the natural attractions of the area (national park, extreme sports, a MPC or Tory mtn ski resort, etc). There are already a lot of second homeowners in the area (pent-up demand for more quality retail, restaurant, grocery, shopping options), and combined with the type of tourists that would be attracted to a national park- many decent paying jobs would inevitably be created. Hopefully jobs that are good enough to make people from outside the area move there to live and work. That's what WV really needs- new year 'round residents, and a bigger local tax base. See the positive snowball effect here?

While no economic development model is perfect, especially with the current state of our national economy (which is pretty darn unstable, IMHO, and not easy for most os us now)- the Jackson Hole model is much better overall than the typical WV economic model of Wal-Marts and prisons.
Bumps
January 30, 2008
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
This has been going on for years. It all comes back to hikers vs. bikers and hiker vs. horse. I used to hike and mountain bike both a lot. Still do both occasionally. The real problem is the noticeable impact a few bikers can have that can't follow the rules. If a few hikers venture off the beaten path I is unlikely they will leave a lasting impression, but have a few bikers or even horse riders take a few shortcuts, before you know it it's a noticeable impact. Or a bike barreling down a hill at 40-50 mph and catching a hiker by surprise. Also try going down on a knee to calm your dog on a tight trail while a couple very large horses nervously go by. They look ten times larger from that angle. Part of the issue is $$. The lobby power of hikers is much stronger then mountain bikers. It's partially a number issue, but I think there is a psychological divide as well. I think in general hikers have a save the environment vibe vs. save the trail vibe from many bikers. This tanslate into more activism and donations. Understand there are always exceptions, but many hikers view bikers slightly less offensive then coal burning plants. Don't kid yourself, any alliance between pure hikers and bikers will end as soon as common war has been won.
Tucker
January 31, 2008
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
The Jackson Hole Model has a few things that would be impossible to recreate- yellowstone national park, the tetons, and over 4000 feet of some of the world's best lift accessed ski terrain. But these are just part of Jackson's thriving economy and alone these things don't just automatically produce a viable thriving economy. You can't have a thriving tourism economy by sittin back and waiting for the people to come to you and then not be ready or prepared to handle the growth in a way that will sustain the assets.

But what can be borrowed from the Jackson Model is their ability to capitalize and maintain their assets. The Jackson and Teton valley areas also have installed strong Zoning regulations and applied great foresight in terms of Development and Business Growth. As a direct result these things in combination with aggressive marketing and attention to current trends the economies are great in the booming Jackson area and the Growing Teton Valley(other side of the Tetons).

What is so important is good strong Zoning, proper planning and foresight, and having smart business owners who are up to date on current trends and standards. In an area that will depend on tourism a local government and strong core of individuals and business owners who will market and make the assets(tourism) appealling and accessable as possible is absolutely necessary. Denying usage moves in the opposite direction. Monitoring or maintaining usage provides jobs and promotes usage. usage=tourism

Back to the Jackson Model. Much of the "to do" in Jackson is about real estate still. Real estate sales seems to also be how local economies have come to be measured or atleast be a key indicator. Last year Jackson hole real estate transactions soared to more than $1.5 Billion dollars in sales. Yes Billion! What they say around here is the Billionaires are running the Millionaires out of town. The Median Sale price in 2007 was up 27 percent and the average sale price rose 24 percent. 433 homes sold for more than 1 million dollars, 120 homes sold for more than 3 million dollars, and 49 homes sold for more than 5 million dollars. All because of intelligent marketing development of tourism. How do you like them apples???

IN MY OPINIOIN. As for the mountain biking issues-like most things seem to be- it's just a pissin match. A few folks might be concerned about impact but for the most part it's just egos with little or no foresight or consideration of effects on environment or economy.

Anyway enough of that babblin...I'm going to contribute to the local booming economy here and shroup some waste deep pow.
KevR
January 31, 2008
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Great if you are super-rich or a sucker -- or maybe both.

Our national parks & lands are for everyone aren't they, not just playgrounds for the uber-rich, right?

I think there are other things beside raw economic numbers that are indicators of the "success" of an area.

I should note that current lift ticket prices at JH seem to be around $80 per day, vastly higher than the ~$50 we've been paying in SLC area (cottonwoods super-pass) these last few years, and higher than just a few yrs back.

At least they weren't successful in running Hostel-X out of town that I'm aware -- so if you can there, maybe you can ski for a few days in the w/the elites sleeping at the Hostel.
RyanC
January 31, 2008
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
You pretty much hit the nail on the head, and seem to have a lot of knowledge about the economics of resort areas. Are you a local resident in the WV highlands area? If so, have you ever considered running for local office? Seriously. It would be good if at least one person (out of several) sitting on the county commission in counties like Garrett, Tucker, Pocohontas, Greenbrier, etc. lived in and/or was affiliated with (i.e. employement, running a small business, etc) the resort areas.

I agree that nothing in the Mid-Atlantic can be comparable to Jackson Hole, etc. Interesting bit about the billionaires driving out the millionaires. I (as a condo owner in CV) would like the area to take some cues from the Jackson Hole model (obviously on a much smaller, more practical scale). As a solid middle class person myself (I bought in CV just before the market exploded), I do find the wealth gap to be growing at an alarming rate nationally, and what's going on in Jackson Hole is going on in large cities as well. Its actually kind of scary. I've noticed that middle-class folks are definitely becoming more and more of a minority group in beach and mountain resort areas, including CV. There are still some of us with 2nd homes in the valley that are, while not struggling, are far from the stereotypical 2nd homeowner this bubble RE market.

Basically, in order for a resort area to thrive today, it HAS to "go upscale". It's unfortunate, but there doesn't seem to be much of a happy medium anymore. Even Ocean City, MD is going upscale. Who would have guessed that 10-15 years ago!!





Tucker
February 1, 2008
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
I'm not super rich(not rich at all) and I ain't no sucker and I'm out here riding for two + months and renting a bedroom for $300 bones a month in a nice house close to the resort with a bunch of buddies from WV. I bought a season pass with no black out days for $ 474. When there is no pow at lift service I drive ten minutes to get to the backcountry which is easily accessible, free, and always deep.

Your right that there are indicators other than raw economic numbers that indicate "success" but those indicators can be vary different for people who live and work in an area and depend on it's economic stability for their livelyhood than they are for folks who visit a couple times a year.

There are lots of points of view, mine is just one, yours is equally true, maybe more than mine. But generallizing and calling people elite because they have worked towards something and can afford "things" sounds a bit hippiecrytical.
KevR
February 1, 2008
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Ok ok, my comments were over the top... I was *NOT* trying to bust on anyone specifically.

Instead I was trying to suggest that maybe what JH is not perfect. I skied there several yrs ago now but not that long ago.

There was a combination of good & bad - the upscaling of the location had been a boon to the local economy but squeezed out locals from land and living arrangements.

The resort prices go ever higher and there's no discount for locals (like many other resorts) at all.

In the end it seemed they may have not seen the forest for the trees sort of thing, and the place seems on the verge of being a playground for the more well to do only...

Is that what anyone really wants? That was my only point...

***Lost in the vitrioled comments unfortunately & not directed at you personally or anyone else specifically.***
Roger Z
February 1, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I just happened to stumble across this article on accident a minute ago, does a pretty good job of covering the ups and downs of rural gentrification:

http://finance.yahoo.com/focus-retiremen...ement-lifestyle

I'm not a big fan of what's going on in the resort areas right now, too many middle class folks are getting squeezed out. But being in Kansas, I also wonder "what's the alternative"? Over half the counties in Kansas have fewer people than they did in 100 years ago. Do you remember Greensburg, the town that was wiped out by a tornado last May? There's all sorts of federal and state money being poured in to rebuild that town, but most folks out here- and I'm not just talking Kansas City but from the outlying places like Garden and Dodge Cities, too- are wondering why. The town was dying, and this might have presented an opportunity to add some population- temporarily at least- to other struggling communities and give them a boost, too. But emotion is a strong driver, and I can understand why lifelong residents want to go back.

Rural economies are almost by their nature resource-based economies. Wyoming is booming right now, thanks to energy prices, as is western Colorado, and corn country is rocking thanks to ethanol and commodity prices. But commodities are cyclical, ethanol is political, and those seasons change to their own rhythm. And, frankly, a lot of America doesn't like resource-extractive economies- too dirty, too polluting, too ugly, etc. Resource economies are generally a hardscrabble life and almost no one on this board would choose to go into it voluntarily.

I'm not convinced that the internet is the solution, either. Although I love living in rural areas, it's much easier to find a job in an urban area if things go bad at your company. And if your spouse works, the size of labor markets in urban areas make it an almost-insurmountable choice.

What does that leave? It leaves the second home crowd. Like I said, it's not my favorite solution, but so far I can't think of any better way to sustain rural areas as resource economies continue to fade. Note, though, that an amenity-based economy is still a resource-based economy, it's just used differently and benefits, in my opinion, newcomers more than the workers and inhabitants of the region.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 1, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
You got my vote Tucker. The entire issue is both very complex and besides the protection of the environment, which should be first and foremost a priority, there are both harmonious and divergent factors at play.

The environmental consequences of overdevelopment will be paid for by our grandchildren. IMHO, it will require federal involvement to protect the entire Eastern Highlands. Having dealt with WV's fiefdoms in the past, I can attest to that. If left alone to locals and state, Pocohontas County would look like McDowell County in five years.

The demographics and socioeconomics of newcomers versus the long-standing residents also present an interesting issue. For the recently arrived, mainly second-home or vacation owners, the presence of McDonalds, Wal-Mart, or other boxy chain stores in their neighborhood would present a serious detriment to property values and quality of life. These forms of development are viewed as totally negative. For the long-time folks, their lives could be initially enhanced by the convenience even if it meant long-term adverse consequences. Hence the historical squabbles about land use.

Then there's the cyclists versus hikers. The mountain biking community has been taking hits for the development of rogue trails that create adverse environmental consequences. As a matter of fact, the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) has gone as far as to promote guidelines for mountain biking that accentuate the respect for, and the use of clearly delineated trails, and condemn the use of unauthorized trails. http://www.imba.com/resources/bike_management/untrails.html As a matter of fact, the IMBA was formed by mountain cyclists who were concerned about the abuse of the environment by cyclists, with the resulting backlash from landowners, environmental and government groups.

While I agree with Bumps that much of it comes down to $$, I have to say, being all three - a mountain biker, a hiker and a skier, that mountain bikers do ourselves a disfavor with the "I can do whatever I want" attitude on the trails. USFS rules specify that hikers DO have the right of way, and that cyclists are to remain within the demarcated trails. Anyone who has biked the Shavers Fork area knows what I'm talking about. The trampling and unconscionable destruction of ecosystems by some irresponsible people gives all of us a bad name.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 1, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Interesting article, Roger... There was a recent Wash Post article about the Mid Atlantic leisure land that had wide reprinting in the area media outlets, citing the gentrification of West Virginia's Eastern mountain core.

I think it is a fact of life that this is going to happen, especially in the East, where virtually all the unprotected ocean front is gone and more people are rediscovering the allure of the mountains. Ski areas nor not, the mountain area, from Western PA all the way to White Sulphur Springs, has already or will become prime vacation land. Unfortunately much of the parcels in the counties below Greenbriar are primarily coal-mining eco wastelands and their use for leisure land is limited for now.

Gentrification is pure and simple, market-driven economics. It happened in Vermont in the 1970s and will happen here too.

Outside of the coasts, I think immigration will be the saving grace of the Great Plains. Right now in your new home state, immigrants comprise about 60 percent of the population increase and it doesn't even consider the children born to immigrants after they arrive. Once you consider them, almost 92 percent of the population increase in Kansas is due to immigration. They may all have to learn Spanish, but at least their economies will survive. The Plains states, unfortunately, are not seen as a big draw for the high-tech young crowd.
Roger Z
February 1, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
 Quote:
the counties below Greenbriar are primarily coal-mining eco wastelands and their use for leisure land is limited for now.


That may not be true for long. I hear they're starting to redevelop some of the strip-mined baldies into golf courses and the like.
RyanC
February 1, 2008
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
You're absolutely right that federal involvement is needed to protect the WV highlands. If it were up to the state and local governments, Snowshoe would be torn down to build a state prison and Canaan Valley would be home to a GM plant or Wal-Mart distribution center. The resort model is not perfect, but it sure beats the alternatives. And I hate to sound elitest, but as a 2nd homeowner I DO contribute to the local economy, and would contribute even more if there was a local grocery store where I could get non-expired food, reasonable prices, and remotely friendly service. Hauling up all my food from Baltimore gets old!! Hopefully the 2nd homeowners in these areas (CV, Snowshoe, etc.) will start to ensure that our interests are represented- because as of now our respective counties are basically funded by us (2nd homeowners) but we are basically treated as second-class citizens by the state and local government(s). Drive away the 2nd homeowners (or potential 2nd homeowners) and the local economy collapses, plain and simple. For better or worse, most Mid-Atlantic highlands resort areas are going upscale, and any county or local government that takes actions which drive away those folks loses big.

Now when will Timberline stop catering to scouting groups and start living up to it's full potential? That's the topic of an entirely separate thread! Unfortunately, the under-development of Timberline (the ski operation itself and it's catering to lower-level demographic groups) is adversely affecting the entire valley (and our property values). The current owners are great at doing what they're doing (and the resort is actually run pretty darn well considering it's basically and mom & pop operation), but they could make a lot more $$$ and enhance the resort much more if they catered to a more mature crowd. Much needed nightlife options in the valley itself COULD be a huge moneymaker, if done right. A higher-end yet laid-back place catering to the 25-55+ crowd would be great.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 1, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
On RyanC and Roger's remarks, it is a fact that the SW part of WV can barely sustain life due to environmental degradation of the land. Several years ago, during some massive floods in Mingo, Logan and McDowell counties, the US Army Corps of Engineers tried unsuccessfully to look for land that met HUD standards in order to build housing sites. What they discovered was that the result of mountaintop mining had acidified entire watersheds to the point of making much of the land uninhabitable according to federal standards. Add to this the huge impact of flood zones that are vastly expanded by paving large tracts of land to build Box stores, the coal mining extraction zones, and you get a picture of entire counties where it just doesn't make economic sense to build anything. Sad but true...
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 1, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
 Originally Posted By: RyanC
...would contribute even more if there was a local grocery store where I could get non-expired food, reasonable prices, and remotely friendly service. Hauling up all my food from Baltimore gets old!!


Ryan, next time you go through Wardensville, stop by the Coyote Coffee House. It will surprise you. You'd think you're in Tenley Circle or Clarendon. They have got the organic producers to bring their stuff to them, and besides great food and delicious coffee, they have upscale prepared food items and housewares. One of the owners used to be a buyer for Williams Sonoma, if that gives you any idea. And if you call ahead, they can have fresh baguettes waiting for you to take to the condo. I love to cook and make my own bread, and was pleasantly surprised when I found King Arthur Flower products.

Also, demands brings supply. Don't know about Canaan, but at Snowshoe, the Market at the base of the mountain has begun to upscale and have food items that are obviously destined for the upscale ski and urban crowd. And the market has begun to respond. The makers of West Virginia Fruit and Berry products are selling an excellent selection of jams, jellies, etc. And if you go to the Foxfire, their best seller is the Blackwater Microbrew beers, their pale ale being one of my favorites.

A few years ago, Tamarac in Beckley was about the only place where there was a large concentration of West Virginia handicrafts geared to the tourist population. Smaller "Tamaracs" are now dotting the highlands.

I guess this is the "Vermontization" of Eastern WV?
RyanC
February 3, 2008
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Lou, thanks for the info. With more of Corridor H open I sometimes drop from Frederick through Harpers Ferry and take I-81 to 55 now. I'll definitely have to give this place a try. Nothing like good coffee to keep me awake on the trip (I'm off on Fridays so I usually go to Canaan from work on Thursday evenings). DO you know if they're open late into the evening? I usually roll through Wardensville (at 23-24 mph of course) around 7-8p (usually closer to 8). This sounds like a much better alternative to Sheetz coffee or sugar free Red Bulls!!

The Canaan area has the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, which is excellent, for organic coffees, ice cream, sandwiches, soups, etc. Mountain Made has a lot of great WV made housewares, etc. But I'd love to see an actual grocery store such as a smaller version of a Whole Foods or Trader Joes, etc.

While, like everything, it may have it's drawbacks, the "Vermontization of WV" is actually a good thing as far as I'm concerned. It's better than the alternatives.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 4, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Pleasure, Ryan. Coyote has a wonderful coffee selection, their espresso roast, which I love, is slow-roasted, so the caramelized dark roast is much, much much easier on the palate than the S-folks. As well as, not as bitter. I usually stock up on their organic espresso beans as I have my own grinder at the condo and like to leave freshly ground coffee for the renters.

On their schedule, Fridays they stay open until 9, otherwise Sat and Sun they close at 6 and weekdays at 5. Actually they have stayed open for me, as sometimes I'm delayed leaving Snowshoe as I'm tidying up the condo. Their website is http://www.troutprovisions.com/index.html

I have to get to Canaan soon. And I agree about a grocery store that sells items the DC ski crowd considers necessities. At least I can get my baguettes at Coyote....

"Vermontization" of the area is inexorable. The only constant on the equation is change and it is proceeding rapidly. Hopefully more rapid than ever. For a ski resort area, yes, I'd take ten coffee houses over a Wal-Mart any day.
yellowsnow
February 4, 2008
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
268 posts
It will be interesting to see how long it takes for things to change drastically, development-wise, with the new public wastewater systems going into the Valley...
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 4, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
This will be the problem in all the valleys, Canaan or Snowshoe, basically the entire WV Highlands. We have a distinct problem at Snowshoe, very complex and that will affect the habitability and future development of Snowshoe and the surrounding area.

I think the following are constants:

1. Snowshoe will keep on expanding as a resort facility
2. Snowshoe's surrounding area will continue its trend for significant real estate development and expansion, despite the current real estate crisis.
3. Current water and sewer infrastructure will become increasingly insufficient to supply a growing population need.
4. The demographic makeup of the Snowshoe basin and surrounding area is undergoing and will continue to undergo a significant change, to a more leisure oriented, technologically sophisticated, upper income and educated population.
5. This population may even become semi permanent or establish a permanent foothold that will totally change the political landscape. "Vermont in the Cheat Mountains"
6. These folks will look at open space and historical properties much different than the heretofore "permanent" population. Preservation and ecological balance will become much more important.
7. There will be significant conflict between the old timers and the newcomers until the votes and the financial resources of this new population overwhelm the status quo.

My predictions:

If time is right, places like the Sharp Farm will survive as they will become historical symbols. It will beecome political suicide for a state or federal entity to issue a FONSI that will allow the destruction or significantly adverse alteration of historical properties

Back to the main point of the thread, there will be pressure to enact additional restrictions on mountain cycling, ATVs and other transportation means that may adversely affect the environment

Alternative and costlier water and sewer treatment will mean significantly increased costs that will be passed on to the consumer, namely skiers and summer vacationers

Much of the land will become off-limits for hunting, as new non-hunting owners post it on the day of closing

The chance of a McDonalds or Burger King going up in the area will become the same chances of winning the Powerball with a single ticket. The chances of a Wal Mart going up in Pocahontas will be the same chances of a lightning strike in the moon.

There will finally be good coffee in the Snowshoe basin
kwillg6
February 4, 2008
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,031 posts
 Originally Posted By: RyanC


Now when will Timberline stop catering to scouting groups and start living up to it's full potential? That's the topic of an entirely separate thread! Unfortunately, the under-development of Timberline (the ski operation itself and it's catering to lower-level demographic groups) is adversely affecting the entire valley (and our property values). The current owners are great at doing what they're doing (and the resort is actually run pretty darn well considering it's basically and mom & pop operation), but they could make a lot more $$$ and enhance the resort much more if they catered to a more mature crowd. Much needed nightlife options in the valley itself COULD be a huge moneymaker, if done right. A higher-end yet laid-back place catering to the 25-55+ crowd would be great.


I disagree with the premise that what t-line needs is to attract the upper end income. If the owner wants to do specials for scout groups, it's his mountain and operation of which we have no real say as a property owner. I 'm just thankful that they open every December and are usually the last resort in the mid-atlantic to close in April. I love the laid back feel to what is arguably the best ski mountain in the mid atlantic. I would hate to see it "intrawested" as what has happened to the shoe over the past dozen years. Yeah, it may help increase property values but so would a strong real estate market. There was a certain charm to the shoe before its big corporate takeover and I would hate to see the valley lose its special feel and atmosphere. Although it was inevitable, the gentrification process in Tucker County accelerated in the valley with the latest real estate boom. Most locals cannot afford to live there especially with the over priced and over valued realestate. Those are the folks who provide the services that the 2nd homeowner needs. They resent being forced out economically, and I don't blame them. As far as the valley is concerned, the zoning there is restrictive enough to keep corporate America out. I don't know how long it will last, but when a regional water/sewer authority is established, and funding is in place, it could all go to hell and quickly.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 4, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Hopefully both segments, Boy Scouts and Yuppies, can survive together. After all, Scouts are yuppies-in-training... :-)

This is the dilemma of many ski areas that have undergone or will undergo transition. Take Stowe and Smuggler's Notch for example. Next to each other, sharing the same mountain, just different faces. Stowe is one of the birthplaces of skiing in North America, swanky, opulent with a New England feel, but nonetheless geared to Old Money. You go North from Waterbury and you get a country club feeling. Coffee houses, organic produce, spas offering the latest in exotic facial wraps and holistic massages. Not many scouting groups go to Stowe. And one of the problems that the city fathers (and mothers) face is that there are few folks who can tend to the needs of this affluent class and yet live at Stowe. Last year, the town went and floated a loan to build 24 affordable units. Without that, most teachers, police and restaurant workers would not be living in the area. Stowe has become price prohibitive for many people. And as a result, most budget skiers end up in Bolton, Sugarbush or MRG to the chagrin of the town treasurer.

Smuggs, on the other hand, has maintained its hometown feel. Scout troops, college students and school buses full of kids crowd into the resort. Yes, it is much easier for transport as Smuggs is on the Western side of Mt Mansfield and therefore a hop from Essex, Underhill and other places with affordable housing. But Smugglers Notch's self-promotion is as THE family resort. Students at my alma mater, for example, get a season pass as a part of the student activity fee due to the substantial discount.

I think there's room at the inn for everyone. Even as prices go up and buying real estate in the area goes out of the range of most locals.

Canaan and Snowshoe are in that crossroads now. Hopefully we will not get like an Aspen or Vail but the market forces will seek an equilibrium.
crunchy
February 4, 2008
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: lbotta

Canaan and Snowshoe are in that crossroads now. Hopefully we will not get like an Aspen or Vail but the market forces will seek an equilibrium.


I'm not sure what is wrong with Canaan Valley they way it is now?? There is plenty to do, to enjoy, to eat, to listen to, etc. Most of the people I know who enjoy it there, love it because of the way it is now. Leave the suburbs and suburban lifestyle in the suburbs... please! \:\)

btw, longest morphing thread ever \:\)
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 4, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Crunchy, change is a constant. It is going to come. Just a question for us, as skiers and lovers of the sport, how we as a community would influence the change that is going to come, whether we like it or not. All of the change will be good for some and not good for others. Some of the change will be good for all and some of the change will not be good for anyone.

I don't think anyone is secretly conspiring to bring Loudoun County to Canaan. But the transformation is undergoing, and I'd rather not see what has happened to downtown Leesburg happen in Canaan or Snowshoe. It would destroy it as a sports paradise. So my solution is to become part of my HOA board of directors first, then looking at how I can influence other bodies and decision making spheres.

Skiers can have an immense influence on politicians.
camp
February 4, 2008
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: kwillg6
..... Yeah, it may help increase property values but so would a strong real estate market.
I'm not sure I understand why it's important to have high property values or a strong real estate market in CV?

Much of this thread is similar to this book. A very good read, and even gets seriously into immigration (our newest banned topic ;)) as it pertains to ski industry workers in the west.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 4, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
I have a copy of the book in my ski condo. I read the first 25 pages or so until I realized that the entire premise of the book relies on the "post hoc ergo" thinking, which is a logical causation fallacy. Raises very very good points that we should all be aware of if we're interested about the world in which we live on as skiers. However, "just because" is not a good argument.
Roger Z
February 4, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Should we turn the subject to good books? I just got the most recent collection of essays from Outside magazine. I've only gotten through the first 1 1/2 so far, but as with almost everything written in Outside magazine, they do not disappoint.

Available here , almost worth getting for the cover shot alone... how do you think the real estate market is where that naked hippie-dude is standing? Do they allow mountain biking up there?
camp
February 4, 2008
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: Roger Z
... how do you think the real estate market is where that naked hippie-dude is standing? Do they allow mountain biking up there?
Now, now, why do you use the word "hippie"? Do you have evidence to support that? ;\)

I could get offended..
Roger Z
February 4, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
 Quote:
Now, now, why do you use the word "hippie"?


Because I have yet to see Dick Cheney streaking?
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 4, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Ouch! That looks cooooooold! I dont' have a lot of hangups but I wouldn't be caught dead admiring nature like that... Call it ad hominem, ad vericundiam, or in the case of this guy, he needs a little ad bacculum on the head...
camp
February 4, 2008
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: lbotta
I have a copy of the book in my ski condo. I read the first 25 pages or so
Lou, I understand what you mean, but, 25 pages is not enough to jump to that end conclusion.

I think that book fits this thread very well, and I think you would have a lot to add. To that book, as you have to this thread.

I didn't catch what you meant by "just because"?
Tucker
February 4, 2008
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
[/quote] I'm not sure what is wrong with Canaan Valley they way it is now?? There is plenty to do, to enjoy, to eat, to listen to, etc. Most of the people I know who enjoy it there, love it because of the way it is now. Leave the suburbs and suburban lifestyle in the suburbs... please [/quote]

Don't get me wrong Canaan Valley and Davis areas are great in many ways and I would like to see much of it stay the way it is and that is why I live there. But there is a big difference between visiting somewhere occasionally and living and trying to make a living somewhere.

Wouldn't it be nice if local folks living in the area could find jobs with benefits or even jobs that paid more than minimum wage? It doesn't need to be the suburbs or over commercialized but I believe with proper foresight and planning and much stroger zoning that the area can stay the beautiful laid back place we know it to be while still being able grow in a sustainanble direction that can actually provide jobs to the local people who make alot of Canaan Valley "what it is" for the wonderful people who visit and have second homes in the area.

Here is an interesting socioeconomic experiment that might surprise you. Next time "you"(no one specific)is in the valley talking to a local or riding a lift with a local ask them if they have health insurance. Ask them where someone with a college education or even a masters could get a job around the Davis or Canaan Valley area that pays more than 6 bucks an hour. Ask them where someone could get a job that provides health insurance or any benefits. There ain't much.
camp
February 4, 2008
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: Tucker
..Wouldn't it be nice if local folks living in the area could find jobs with benefits or even jobs that paid more than minimum wage?
I think this very important everywhere. It's the same problem Fairfax County has with their teachers and police officers having to live in Front Royal, or Martinsburg. It's not good for Fairfax, when every teacher wants to bail out of school and hop on 66 every day at 2:15. Who's left to coach sports, music, etc. The days of Fairfax students running into their teachers at the movie theatre or hardware store seem gone.
crunchy
February 4, 2008
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
yeah i know alot of locals that work 2 and 3 jobs. but they all love being where they are and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. but there are also alot local residents in the valley/davis/thomas that are transplants from the 'suburbs' by choice.
camp
February 4, 2008
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: crunchy
yeah i know alot of locals that work 2 and 3 jobs. but they all love being where they are and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. ....
Yep, just like all the core outdoor towns nationwide. I believe my tourist experience will go down when the locals are forced to work 4-5 jobs or move too far away to drive to work.

Many of those folks will move to a backcountry town next, or maybe a whitewater town. A place where the lifestyle can continue for another decade or so.
Roger Z
February 5, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
 Quote:
Wouldn't it be nice if local folks living in the area could find jobs with benefits or even jobs that paid more than minimum wage?


The industries that pay well are politically unpopular, some are dying economically anyway. Keep in mind, too, that the area (Tucker County) was depopulating until the second home scene came along. I think Tucker County actually lost population between the 1990 and 2000 Census. Like a lot of West Virginia, the economy was in the dumps and people were responding. I think the coal boom has helped out with Mount Storm, and there's some jobs that have come along with the wind plant, but essentially without the second home boom the highlands were dying.

One rural area in WV that seems to be doing well is Petersburg/Moorefield. I heard the chicken farms kicked things off down there, but there seems to be a lot more going on than just chicken these days. I'm always pleasantly surprised at how well that area seems to be doing, comparatively speaking.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 5, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Hi Camp, actually you awakened the intellectual curiosity in me that got me to pick up the book in the first place. I left it when I realized that (in answer to your question) the author was simply using the "just because" fallacy to justify his premise that development and the corporate influence in the sports of skiing is inherently bad and caused all kinds of evil...

In more academic language, his premise is based on the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, namely "this happened after, so obviously it must be the cause". And although this fallacy is sooooo often used in our language and political discourse, AND it is indeed an effective, yet fallacious tool, I was turned off by his assertion. When I started reading it, I realized that it was an advocacy essay, not a true book based on the scientific method. I can get the same information on advocacy from my Sierra Club newsletters. However, I left it at the condo for others to read.

His syllogism is basically this - and please understand I'm being a bit sarcastic. "Oh well, there were these nice ski people who lived in communion with the environment, slept in unheated log cabins and who enjoyed MRG-type ungroomed telemark skiing and wore home-spun sweaters, listened to Jimmy Buffet and Grateful Dead and smoked some fantastic Panama Red. Then these rich cats came in with Exxon and Mobil and the American Ski Company and its Wall Street yuppies who wore Abercrombie and Spyder gear and had groomed skiing, condos gallore and what's worse, listened to Eminem. As a result, the world of skiing has gone to hell and plagues of locusts have afflicted the earth and these folks are the single cause of earth warming, earthquakes, and the last solar eclipse".

Well... it is a fallacy because it may be, but doesnt't necessarily has to be. Take it locally: Like Roger's latest post stated, Tucker County (as well as most of WV) was depopulating. The economy of the state is not the best, and home-based agriculture can ill compete with Chinese and Mexican produce. However, some people lived relatively comfortable, even if the general population was afflicted by a number of vicissitudes, such as lack of jobs, undervalued properties, poor educational systems, and lack of scrutiny on public expenditures. Then the second home craze took over, Intrawest came in, Corridor H came in, and the world hasn't been the same.

You can then attribute all the evils of the world to this phenomenon. But in fact, many of these causal factors were already in the works. The low tax base meant school systems of continually decreasing quality. The water and sewer infrastructure, if existing altogether, was incipient and unable to sustain any growth in the economic vitality of the zone. The lack of jobs, educational opportunities and adverse socio economic factors resulted in the flight of young people away from their original homes.

You can make a point that the advent of the secondary home market and the "rediscovery" of the area as a skier and other leisure paradise has had profound beneficial effects on the body politic. In Pocahontas County, for example, I am told that 80 percent of the treasury is financed by Snowshoe and environ real estate taxes. I don't think how this could be called a minus.

Yes, there are adverse consequences, and some people who used to live in their little ranch with their next door neighbor two miles away will wake up one day and find two Lincoln log homes a hundred yards away and the spa company installing 12-person Jaccuzzis in both places. And he may get his real estate bill the next day and find out that his property is now tripled in value and so are his taxes.
KevR
February 5, 2008
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
The US economy as a whole has changed in the last century - less people are in agriculture and big industry, more people are in the "service" oriented industry. A lot of traditional industry has moved overseas -- this started way back and business has followed the cheap labor around the globe: japan to korea, now to china. Also latin america and india, among others have seen certain industries move or partially move to the region.
Some services oriented industries have migrated as well -- certain kinds of computer stuff, things like that.
WV probably (the presence of this word here is a key here that in fact i have no idea what the heck i'm talking about) never had much but coal, maybe forestry and some agriculture perhaps.
Coal will remain I think -- we'll just have to learn to use it better. Perhaps wind could add some jobs as well, it could be quite a boom maybe, who knows but that's just one market segment.
There's certainly going to be a market of retiring baby-boomers, but I could not predict where many will want to live when they retire.
Not HERE is probably a good bet but where I don't know.

WV could try to compete there and maybe that's what folks are really talking about in the longer run, and the most recent housing boom is just an echo of what's to come...

There's no reason really that WV couldn't contribute more fully to the 'tech' economy but they'll need to invest a lot more in education, and then attract those sort of businesses or create their own so those freshly minted techies don't up and move to California or DC... which isn't so easy when you are relatively poor anyway.

BUT one thing I've noticed -- armed with a laptop and an internet connection, one doesn't have to be anywhere in particular to do that sort of work effectively.
Tucker
February 5, 2008
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
!Great post Ibotta!
Bumps
February 5, 2008
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
Sorry this is long and rambling, but I wanted to keep with the spirit of the thread ;\)

A tribe of nomads moved in and settled an untamed land. Later another tribe liked what they saw and battled the first tribe and settled the land. 50 years later they started trading with the tribe over the hill. Soon their clay pots turned to steel. Some were concerned the old ways would be lost...
Change happens.
But then again some things never change. To be Appalachian is to be Appalachian
I think I've said this before. Cable and satellite TV changed WV more than anything.
WV is a diversity of cultures including Scotts, Germans, Indian , English , Chinese and others who all came together in an isolated rugged area where people can be alone and be a part a community at the same time. WV is the only state to be considered to be completely within the Appalachian region. PA comes close, but still has philly. In the early years, roads were hard to maintain and the amount of people that could live in a given 100 square mile area was limited due to terrain. Time is money and all that time traversing mountains to get from village to village just wasn't worth for the external market place to take notice. Therefore it was much more economical to take. Take furs, take coal and even some crops. OF course in order to take it helped if there was an infrastructure. Roads and rails where built to help move the resources down to the low lands. It was a pretty good deal. The new infrastructure brought new things to mountains as well. These items made some long for another life. But all in all people marched on. Don't forget WWII, Korea and then Vietnam. Where do you go to find people who know how to shoot? I remember a quote by John McCain in the book called the nightingale Song where he speaks of the Appalachian white trash who did not attempt to avoid the draft. He spoke in positive terms about the people he served with and reference the shooting abilities, but the term Appalachian white trash has stuck with me since I read the book maybe 10 years ago. Eventually, I came to terms with the Term and understood it to simply mean Appalachian. Many of these Appalachians returned home with stories of far away places and exciting opportunities. Many young people started joining just to see the world. Then came TV. More young people saw the rest of the world and moved out. West Virginia is number two, tied with PA behind FL, in the percentage of people over 65 in their population. Based on the below prediction it will stay in the top 5 for some time.

"The proportion of West Virginia's population classified as elderly

is expected to increase from 15.3 percent in 1995 to 24.9 percent

in 2025. Among the 50 states and District of Columbia, the state

is projected to have the 4th highest proportion of elderly in

1995 and the 2nd highest proportion of elderly in 2025." http://www.census.gov/population/projections/state/9525rank/wvprsrel.txt
There is another phenomenon. Those that leave often want to return when they are elderly. They miss the security of the hills. All in all the ski industry is a blip on the map of WV economy. Ok i'm falling to sleep an need to get up early maybe tomorrow night I will go into what it means to be Appalachian.
Roger Z
February 6, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Bumps I don't disagree with a thing you say. I love Appalachia. I love Appalachia to the point where I cry when I think about what I left there. It is a very special culture, something that outside of NM and cajun LA and maybe a couple other place you simply won't find so strong, so sustained in the U.S. But the thing is this- it ain't gonna survive in the resort areas. Mark that statement, because there are many places in the Appalachians that aren't resort at all. They're deep, they're true, they're not in Pochohantas.

And maybe it won't survive at all. I don't know. I appreciated it when I saw it, I will remember it for the rest of my life, and when people ask if I ever saw a place that was true I'll say "yes" and leave it at that. It's better it not be discovered at all than acculturized and sold and marketed, even though it is- but in it's heart it isn't, and you and I know that.

There are places where the second homes have not ventured and they carry on, as they have, struggling and celebrating in their ways. If you look hard, she hath not stooped. And to quote something more than Dickey- "the rest is silence, let be."
KevR
February 6, 2008
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
You can sit in a hollow, in the woods -- a laptop and internet connection, and enough education to be marketable ...

AND a company willing to pay for unseen labor...

Go ski when you want, go hunt, fish or whatever -- just deliver on time.

You don't need to live in the ant hill anymore...
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 6, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Bumps, I think we all agree with you that the allure of the relatively wild West Virginia is what drives folks to remain in the place. I have no argument with you and assiduously support your statement.

However, the change in the Appalachian Highlands in PA, MD, WV and VA, from a predominantly agricultural, resource driven area to an economy predominantly based on leisure is inexorable.

I agree with your assertion that the old folks move back to the state, but I would also add that much of the growth in the older population is caused by empty nesters, which fall under the real estate term as "Active Adult Buyers" that are shedding their suburban houses and moving in substantial numbers to either the city core, or rural areas - or both. In these places, they can have their cake and eat it too. I haven't done a real estate marketing analysis about the issue, so this is an un-scientific observation from what I see happening around me. In the central city core of Washington, the new "hot" areas of Columbia Heights, U Street, Penns Quarter, etc, these adult buyers are an ever-increasing part of the population. They shed their suburban homes with their two-hour commutes and drive-everywhere requirements. They are able to pay cash for their homes and have the convenience of either walking everywhere for every necessity, or having the metro a block away. Same goes for the ski areas. I can plainly see that the overwhelming majority of the buyers of the $600K+ properties at Snowshoe are the same type of folks. And many of them are coming into the area to stay, forming a new community core as well as injecting new life, culture and movement into their new surroundings. At the same time, they create additional needs that have to be answered. These range from state-of-the-art communications, to sewer and water systems, to pool and hot tub maintenance, to "gentrified" supermarkets and coffee houses. These needs often conflict with the old-time residents, whose needs are certainly more spartan and simple, and sometimes are even uncomfortable with the overwhelming pace of tecnhology.

I'm not Miss Cleo, but I can predict without a crystal ball, that in about ten years, the Snowshoe area will have enough of a permanent population that it will likely incorporate itself as a town, together with all of its pros and cons, and certainly depriving the county of much of the revenue that they now enjoy.

I'm also seeing the growth of a new population, this one in the working age group, who derive their income from or through high-tech and can do their work anywhere. I'm seeing these folks come in and stay in both cities and country. Same reasons as the older folks, they just don't want to have to drive 45 minutes to the nearest drug store. They also want the leisure activities next to them, to take a snow day and play, and to get on their mountain bikes whenever the sun shines.

The resources that these folks demand are more intensive, as they require new infrastructure that has to have seed money. COMCAST isn't going to spend zillions on fiber-optics without a return on investment and without environmental zealots vandalizing or obstructing improvements. The support of the local governments will be necessary and most of them see it as a financial boon.

Culturally, I don't think any of these newcomers go there with a warped noblesse oblige attitude. We could argue the ethics of this principle but I believe they do come in with a conscientious attitude that they owe much to the community. As a result, and especially the active adults, they will be very active in community activities.

All of this entails that change isn't necessary pathological. Sometimes it is, such as when the real old timers took the land from the original native peoples. Sometimes it is not. All of it is within the realm of dialectics, as one thesis crashes against an antithesis and forges a new thesis. Alvin Toffler's Third Wave and Future Shock address these issues extensively but that's another story.

If we can look at another Eastern mountain, mainly Appalachian state where there has been enormous transition, I was in College in the '70s when the same changes were taking place in the Green Mountain State. Forty years later, Vermont is much different place. But the soul of the mountains and the appeal to the simpler life doesn't go away. Rich New Yorkers or Bostonians literally go "native". I can't say that all the changes have been good. But it has changed nonetheless.

As for skiers, we're watching the same changes in the highlands and hopefully we can help direct the changes in a more positive way. So thanks to DCski for the opportunity for all of us to be able to exchange ideas in a way that will promote, preserve and expand the sport. All while taking conscience of the environment and our personal responsibility to the communities, the environment, and the folks who are already there.
jonjon1
February 6, 2008
Member since 09/11/2006 🔗
186 posts
I hope Snowshoe doesn't incorporate as a town.

That would take the title away from Davis as WV's highest incorporated town!
kwillg6
February 6, 2008
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,031 posts
Lou, One very intregal part of the infrastructure which you failed to mention in your thesis is the need for the need for somewhat close proximity to primary and specialized health care providers. My concern, which hopefully will be addressed before my retirement, is the 45 to 90 minute drive to advanced level, health care support that I sometimes require. I currently need to drive a substantial distance to receive required specialized examinations and that being from north central VA. If anything is a deterrent to taking up full time residency in the highlands, it would be existing void.
RyanC
February 6, 2008
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Interesting thoughts about the possible incorporation of Snowshoe. I wonder what the odds of something similar happening in Canaan Valley (rim-to-rim) are. Are you familiar enough with Canaan Valley to take guess at that?

Nothing at all against Davis (I LOVE the town- not to mention that Davis, Thomas, and Canaan Valley are all dependent on one another to a degree), but Canaan Valley is becoming more and more well known as a unique resort area, and having it's own zip code, and more importantly, political representation, certainly wouldn't be bad thing. It would have it's pros and cons, but I'd love to see it happen.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 6, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
kwill, you're totally correct. Not only for the older active crowd, but good health facilities are a necessity to attract the younger crowd sans large ecological footprint. They go hand-in-hand. And a one-pad helo site at Snowshoe would not support a large community for medical evacuation or VIPs. I'm dreaming too much....
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 6, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Ryan, that was talked about last year, actually, and lawyers even got involved in the process. It was decided that at that time, there was insufficient permanent population to support incorporation. With more people there permanently every year, I could see that soon. I will predict definitely in seven to ten years, as the perceived inefficiencies and what some state is a casual adherence to resource management on the part of the county board, will be an increasing source of conflict to a permanent ski crowd that is used to more scientific methods of town management. The county's management of the Sharp farm case is a perfect example.

It would be interesting for Canaan to do the same. You all have an even greater migration of the empty nesters than we do at the Shoe, given the closer proximity to DC, Baltimore etc.
Tucker
February 16, 2008
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Yeah I agree, one unfortunate side-effect of resort towns "growing economically" can be that often the folks who have lived in those areas for generations have trouble affording to live anymore...here is one thing the Jackson area is doing to address this senario...

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/20080213_Ski_towns_offer_deals_on_housing.html

...of cours numbers are always relative to a starting point and the area but this is the kind of planning and action that makes the "Jackson Model" attractive and viable for an entire community to thrive in an economy that is driven by tourism and second home construction and sales...
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 16, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
This is the new reality in urban environments too... Actually, some of the pathfinders in this area have been the DC suburbs of Arlington and Montgomery counties. But in DC I am very familiar as I'm on the Board for our condo HOA. Take the U Street/Columbia Heights area in DC or Cap Hill. New developments call on the developer to devote 15 or even higher - percentage of his units, to qualifying "affordable" buyers. We're not talking welfare cases. In the case of DC, "affordable" or "low/medium income" units still have to qualify for a loan, and may involve people earning up to $75K a year. These folks are teachers, police, fire fighters, and new couples of many forms. Welfare cases are being gentrified out the neighborhood at a fast pace.

However, in a neighborhood where a studio room fetches $400K and a three-bedroom condo is usually well over a mill, it is necessary to maintain the mix that makes a community a healthy community. Same for a ski area. And even more so since ski areas have to be self-sufficient, attracting and keeping a quality workforce that will be set the standard for the quality of schools, first responders, and marketing in general.
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