The Highlands Voice Article on Almost Heaven
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johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 15, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,935 posts
http://www.wvhighlands.org/VoiceSep04.pdf

The article is on page 4 of this pdf document.
Roger Z
September 16, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Well, it seems that one obvious way for Mr. Bright to reduce opposition would be NOT to build a mountaintop resort, for starters. Also-- there's one confirmed purchase and three options, with a possible second confirmed purchase. Has he purchased land elsewhere in WV? Does he have options on other properties in WV? Finally: a golf course, a resort community, AND a ski resort all wedged into 2100 acres? That just doesn't seem to be a large piece of land for a resort of this magnitude. Snowshoe has 10,000 total acres, doesn't it? How many acres does Timberline have-- a ski area, it should be noted, that is approximately half the size of MPC "Almost Heaven"?

Despite the acquisition of 248 acres, this is still very speculative-- it's not hard to turn 248 acres into a residential community if the resort plan falls through or is consummated elsewhere. Nonetheless, it's good for the environmental groups to be keeping a close eye on this. Another question: why isn't the Nature Conservancy or other national/regional land trust organizations getting involved yet?

And, finally, the most interesting issue of all: what happens to Canaan Valley if MPC AND Tory get built? Hmmmmm...
JohnL
September 16, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
I was a surprised that the linked article mentioned likely plans for a mountain-top village. Staying at 4700 ft when you are the highest point around has to be pretty cold in the wintertime. When I viewed MPC this past February from across the valley, it looked like a lot of the snow on the upper parts of the mountain had blown off; so I imagine the winds up there are quite strong.

I realize Snowshoe is at 4800 ft, but isn't it a bit more buffered from winds?
snowcone
September 16, 2004
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
Snowshoe buffered from the winds? .. you mean 'buffet by' the winds! One of the interesting aspects of staying at Snowshoe is getting from your lodging to the slopes. Depending on the direction of the wind you either have a horrendous tail wind which scoots you and your skis rapidly across any open area, or a head wind which you lean into at a 45 degree angle hoping to make the lee side of a building before you collapse from exhaustion. Once you are a couple feet down into the basin the wind disappears and you forget about it until, on the ride up Ball Hooter, you rise out of the protected valley and hit the artic blast at the top of the mountain. Man that can be so cold it just takes your breath away!

I recall one incident; we were staying slopeside at Highland house and watched a teenager boarder trying to make his way from the Junction down to the Shavers Center. He was struggling against the wind with his board acting like a kite and having a devil of a time trying to move forward. At one point he just gave up and tried to sail his board down hill kinda like a monster Frisbee. Imagine his surprise when the wind picked up the board flung it about 5 feet over his head and back up the hill behind him for a good 50-60 feet. The last we saw was the teenage chasing his board and heading back up towards the Junction. I didn't see him again so I suspect he gave a pass on making it to Shavers until the wind dropped ... or got blown into the next county!

Still we love Snowshoe, wind and all. Its all part of its challenge and charm!
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andy
September 16, 2004
Member since 03/6/2004 🔗
175 posts
I think he should build the resort at the base of the mtn so as to keep the mystery & the charm of the alpine roaring plains alive.If he could just get some limited use of the plateau for snowshoing & a limited snowmoble tour & just 1 log cabin restaurant?? I did not read the report because it was from the wv conservancy.So i figured it was a biased. report in faver of lizards & flying rodents & granola crunching hikers(all 100 of them)That visit the mpc area. PS. There is nothing WILD about the wilderness areas up there until they put the wild animals back that used to roam the area.If this is not possible then bring "Almost heaven" on!But then again the endless back bowls of vail have not disturbed the truly wild animals that habitat that area
Roger Z
September 16, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
What about hikers that eat lizards? Don't we count in your book Andy? That's why I hike the Roaring Plains... nothing like a little Gatorade and salamander tail after a hard day's hike.
andy
September 16, 2004
Member since 03/6/2004 🔗
175 posts
rogerz is back! Read my ps that i edited after your reply.Don't you think that we should restore these wilderness areas to as close as they were 300 years ago?I am one of those granola crunching hikers but nothing would make me drool as much as seeing a huge bull elk up there.I guess most nature lovers wouldn't enjoy a hike thru a "wilderness" area & run into a mtn lion...that would just be to wild!! we need to keep these ski areas out of the area so we can enjoy our nice kinder & gentler hiking trails...barf!
ski_guy_59
September 16, 2004
Member since 11/9/2001 🔗
221 posts
Andy, I love your commentary. The Highlands article repeated what most of John said. I think Almost Heaven would be a great place to ski. I was at CV last spring and took a photo of a backboard that said almost heaven, leaning up against a patrol hut. Maybe a sign of things to come?
David
September 16, 2004
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
Kinda unrelated but... The File (article) above to Download is a .pdf file but I can't find anything to open it with. When I click the icon it asks me what I want to use to open it. What do I need to use to open the file and read it?
Scott - DCSki Editor
September 16, 2004
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,143 posts
Quote:

Kinda unrelated but... The File (article) above to Download is a .pdf file but I can't find anything to open it with. When I click the icon it asks me what I want to use to open it. What do I need to use to open the file and read it?




David,

To read PDF files, you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader. It's a free download and available for most platforms -- it may already be installed on your computer. If not, visit www.adobe.com.

If you are on a Macintosh, you can open PDF files using the Preview program (found in your Applications folder).

- Scott
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 17, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,935 posts
Andy:

You are certainly right to point out that the Roaring Plains is not wild to the same degree as say, the Serengeti Plain in Tanzania. But it does have it's share of critters. A recent study by Nedpower of the Allegheny Front suggests that this ridge is a key navigational feature for migratory birds. Anyone who scans the WV Audubon list will note that WV Birders see plenty of rare birds in this area on a daily basis:

http://list.audubon.org/archives/wv-bird.html

A mountaintop village and road could pose a problem for migrants who rely on this green corridor as their highway--one of the few in the Eastern continental US.

Additionally, there is a movement to re-introduce mountain lions in WV Highlands. The Voice provides regular updates on this initiative.
TerpSKI
September 17, 2004
Member since 03/10/2004 🔗
167 posts
Is a mountaintop village the only way to go? I don't really like that model for a ski resort. And I can see that it could be disruptive of wildlife.
jimmy
September 17, 2004
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Terrapin, I don't care for upside down that much either. Last run always sounds better than last ride to the top of the mountain. Are you a Terrapin football fan? Like to predict the score of the WVU Maryland game? Maryland ruined my New Years last year. Left Timberline early to watch the game that wasn't a game and by the time I realized it I had too many tailgate toddy's to return to skiing. Let's Go Mountaineers!
Jimmy
Roger Z
September 18, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
John & Andy- the book "Mountains of the Heart" is a great intro to the ecology of the Appalachians. The story is that things are slowly going back to the way they were, though there are some obvious things-- like carrier pigeons-- that we will never get back. Restoration isn't always a matter of humans putting things back, like knocking a book off a table, but is sometimes a matter of things coming back on their own as well.

That said, having mountain lions and elk back in the mountains would be fantastic! I was out in mountain lion country this summer in northern CA and there's something to be said for knowing that you're not the only hungry carnivore in the woods.

Oh well. I'd still prefer to see Tory developed than MPC. I don't want Bill Bright chasing my hiking snacks away.
andy
September 18, 2004
Member since 03/6/2004 🔗
175 posts
Sounds like a good book Mr Z.The coyotes are coming back on thier own.Evidently they have been migrating down the appalation mtn chain from way up north.I remember about 15 years ago(give or take a few) they had made it down to PA & now they have made it all the way down to the SE coast of NC.We have the red wolf down here also.now that i mention it we have alligaters,the biggest black bears in the eastern US & tons of other critters..all this without any "wilderness" areas.Remember that the roaring plains are a 19 square mile plateau.."almost heaven" would just use a little side of the plains.Just build the best ski resort on the best piece of realestate Wherever that is in West Va & turn the rest of the state into 1 big park!
andy
September 18, 2004
Member since 03/6/2004 🔗
175 posts
PS..& remember DC ski members & guests..the dc ski area is truly wintergreen to your south up thru massanttun to the canaan vly area up to 7 springs,blue knob & across to the pocconos.Snowshoe west va is out of this loop.This leaves a 900 to 1000 vert mtn as the best thing you have.There is a mtn with as much as 1700" to 2000" vert sitting in west va that could be dev with minamal if any enviremental damage.Don't listen to the skeptics & negative feedbacks.The animals will thrive,the less than hardy hikers will be able to enjoy what the hardy allready have,Put your support behind this & we will be able to enjoy 1st class sking in dc's backyard in a few years.This ski area will eventually be built..maybe 100 years from now but it will be built so we might as well do it now..Thank you for your support.
North Conway
September 18, 2004
Member since 11/18/2003 🔗
17 posts
Roger Z,
I hope nothing. I grew up in a little town of Madison NH,with a little mt. called King Pine. IF I recall the vert is less than 400. Madison/Silver Lake is just south of North Conway, which has some the NH big boys .....Wild Cat and many others. King Pine just kept on going and going...going and so will Canaan Valley and TL
JohnL
September 19, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Roger Z,

Thanks for the heads-up on "Mountains of the Heart". I just ordered it this morning, along with "coffee table" books on Stowe and Jackson Hole.

As for MPC, even if a ski area doesn't go there, development of the lower slopes and valley below is probably inevitable.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 19, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,935 posts
JohnL:

You'll like the Stowe coffee table books. There's actually a lot of good information in it--it's well written.

I just purchased RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF CRAZY: ON TOUR WITH THE US SKI TEAM. It should be fun. It profiles the team during the 1992 World Championships. I'm reading it to get a feel for some of the racing slopes in Europe from racer's perspective.
Roger Z
September 21, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Here's a question for the board: suppose Bill Bright wants to build MPC into a resort-- or wants to build an Almost Heaven anywhere in WV. If I'm not mistaken, NEPA requires public hearings for projects on federal lands... so we'd see some announcements regarding MPC, wouldn't we? But if there's no federal land involved (eg Bill Bright doesn't build on MPC or only on private lands on the shoulder thereof), does there still need to be public hearings? And if there do need to be public hearings... aren't we getting ahead of ourselves with speculation over what's really going on?

As a side note, I should also say that "Mountains of the Heart" is not all good news. It's mostly down news-- the blight on the hemlocks and chestnut, species disappearing and no one can explain why, etc. But unlike some ecology books I've read, it does a good job in pointing that a) all is not lost; and b) some of the fights we've been fighting are slowly being won. But enjoy the book anyway to any of you who read it!
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 22, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,935 posts
Roger:

Bright visited the Forest Service HQ in Elkins a few years ago to inquire about use permits for the Roaring Plains. However, Bright was told that since the endangered Cheat Mountain Salamander likely lives there, he would have to pay for an environmental impact statement and submit it to the Forest Service. He has made no further inquiries. It is uncertain if Bright could build a lodge or ski village on the Plains without using Forest Service land for access roads and power transmission lines. He would need special use permits to do this.

The other problem is the Tier 2.5 trout streams that he would need to tap into for water resources. These streams are protected under the Federal Clean Water Act.
Roy
September 22, 2004
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
I don't know the laws of WV but I think there should be some sort of public hearings even if it is on private land. But it could also be too early in the process.

Almost all land in every count is zoned for something (commercial, residential, agricultural, etc.). He would need hearings to connect to public roadways, sewage dumps, etc. and these are the things he would need the hearings on. But until he has the land, the design plans, etc., he will not have the hearings until these first steps are in place.

Once again, I'm not a lawyer or anything so these are guesses.
bawalker
September 22, 2004
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Just a quick note on the zoning issues. We are dealing with proposed zoning here in Hardy County which may be stopped, but in this zoning fight I have learned there are only two places in WV that have zoning ordinances. Those would be cities/towns and the only county have such laws is Jefferson County up by Charlestown and Martinsburg. Otherwise the other 54 counties to my knowledge have 0 zoning laws.
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