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RE: [at-l] More Saddleback



That puts you in common company. I have skied Saddleback (about 25 years ago
but it has not changed significantly since then). At that time it was a very
nice family ski area and I presume it still is as the Mainers are genuinely
friendly. The top of the lift if not very far below the trail but there is
no hint of it being there from the top. Some of the trails can be seen
looking south from the saddle or horn if I remember right. It should be
noted that the cover at the top was very poor and icy which I would presume
to be common given the location and predominate wind directions. These
weather effects will affect any high development on the proposed expansions.
The weather and the long drive distances to Saddleback do not make the
mountain attractive for major development. Various owners have tried to
expand over the years and failed to carry through, including the current
owner.

I have also hiked the AT across Bromley, Stratten, Killington, and Wildcat.
On all of these the intrusion on the trail is more severe very locally where
the trail touches the facilities but you see surprisingly little of the ski
trails and lifts. In most cases the intrusion is roughly equivalent to
another road crossing. In some cases the facilities provide views that would
not be there without the viewing platforms/buildings - you would just be in
the long green tunnel. There are many places on the AT where you can see
large ski areas in the distance.

To me the wilderness experience is determined more by the near (but not
immediate) and middle ground views. The very far views, 40-50 miles, e.g.
the Manhattan skyline from the AT in Harriman Park or very far away ski
areas, actually enhance the wilderness experience to some extent by showing
the contrast. To some extent the trail itself is an intrusion on the
wilderness experience especially in the immediate foreground where you see
the damaged lichen and beaten down effects of too many people milling around
in one place.

Saddleback is somewhat of a special case compared to other ski developments.
Alternative 2,3 and 4 all will put extensive trail cuts into full view for
long periods of time along the trail. These views are in the crucial near to
mid-range. Either approaching Saddleback from the north or south you are
accustomed to a high quality wilderness experience for several days. Why
ruin this experience when there is no shortage of good skiing not very far
way. Mumble, mumble something about highest and best uses of land is
appropriate here.

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