Plans for Deerfield River (MA) Pipeline and Withdrawal Cancelled
Over the past few months, American Whitewater has been working with New England
Flow and the Appalachian Mountain Club to analyze a proposal by the Vermont ski area Mount Snow
to use water from the Deerfield River's Somerset reservoir for snow-making. The proposal
would have required the construction of a 18,000 foot water pipeline that would cross lands
protected by a conservation easement that was negotiated as part of the 1994 Deerfield River dam
relicensing settlement agreement. It also would have allowed the withdrawal of 484 million
gallons of water per season from the Deerfield River.
On May 1st, we raised concerns regarding the impacts of these activities on the Deerfield River
with the State of Vermont in a letter, and raised them again with the US Forest Service in
comments on September 4th. Tom Christopher of New England Flow was the primary author of
these comments, and has provided excellent long term stewardship of the Deerfield River for two
decades. On October 9th, AW, AMC, New England FLOW, and American Rivers filed a formal
opposition to this proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that was drafted by Ken
Kimball of the AMC.
On October 8th, in a surprise move, Mount Snow announced that they would abandon the proposed
pipeline and withdrawal from Somerset Reservoir. Instead the company intends to build a
12-acre, 120 million gallon pond in the town of Wilmington which will draw water from the
Deerfield River. We have not yet reviewed plans for the pond or withdrawal.
The press release issued by Mount Snow marking the change in strategy can be found below.
Contact: Chris Lenois
802-464-4013 or 802-380-4440
Mount Snow Announces Plans for West Lake Project
WEST DOVER, VT - (October 8, 2007) - Mount Snow announced plans for a new project to build a snowmaking water storage pond in the Deerfield Valley.
Called the "West Lake Project," the plan calls for a 12-acre pond to be built on land in the town of Wilmington. The pond will draw water from the Deerfield River and have a capacity of 120 million gallons.
"The West Lake project gives us a solution that should meet our goal of increasing the snowmaking water supply in time for the 2008-09 skiing and snowboarding season," says Tim Boyd, president of Peak Resorts, which purchased Mount Snow last April from the American Skiing Company, along with Attitash in New Hampshire.
Mount Snow General Manager Kelly Pawlak made the initial announcement on Sunday during a special season passholder meeting with Boyd and other members of Mount Snow senior management.
"We've already had meetings with the state and they are supportive of the project in principle," says Pawlak.
The announcement of the West Lake project means Mount Snow will cease to pursue their previous plan to draw water from the Somerset Reservoir. Mount Snow had garnered support for that project from Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources and surrounding towns, according to Boyd, but decided to go in another direction when it became evident there would be opposition from several groups.
"The Somerset Project could have turned into a long-term legal battle," says Boyd. "Mount Snow put a lot of time and effort into that plan even prior to our [Peak Resorts] involvement, but we feel this is the best choice currently for our resort and the Mount Snow Valley."
Peak Resorts operates 11 ski areas and two golf courses in six states.