The ostensive reasons for a Winter Use Plan are: 1) Native artifacts were found during trenching work done in 2010 by NPS as they replaced the waterline for the Lodge; and 2) The elimination of the sunrise tubing area.
This article in the Peninsula Daily News dated September 19, 2002 indicates that ONP was aware of native artifacts as early as 2002. Therefore, any project at Hurricane Ridge since 2002, which includes the trenching project, rehabilitation of the road, repaving of the meadow trails, and moving the NWAC weather station all should require the same level of NEPA process as any ski area project.
The NWAC project did involve a Environmental Assessment which concluded "There have been several other archaeological surveys within a 5-mile radius of the project, none of which resulted in the documentation of significant resources. Additional archaeological testing would be conducted prior to installation of the tower and trenching. Archaeologists would monitor ground disturbing activities associated with the installation of the utility corridor and tower."
The road project was an EA, but did not analyze cultural resources or loss of the tubing area.
No public notice of the trenching and repaving projects are available. The repaving of the trails added at least 1000 square feet of impermeable surface. The older trails were paved with a six feet wide corrridor. After repaving in fall 2011, the paved trail is now seven feet wide.
|Old Trail six feet wide|
|New trail is seven feet wide|
Also in 2002, the ski area made a proposal to ONP to make improvements within the existing ski area boundary. This proposal was incorporated into the General Management Plan, which was approved in November 2008.
Using the native artifacts as a reason to restrict winter operations, when the ground is covered by feet of snow, but not summer activities is a stretch of logic.
The requirement to wait an additional 10 years for a winter use plan, in addition to the 10 years of GMP planning, has the effect of shutting the ski operation down. No business or organization could afford to wait 20 years to upgrade equipment.
Skiing has been a part of the Peninsula since before the creation of the park. As the park was being formed, the intention was that the Park would enhance skiing, not take it away. Representative Walgren Both Rep Walgren and Franlkin Roosevelt would be turning in their graves with the way the Park is currently operated.