New ski resort goes big
Environmental and citizens' groups in Valley County, population 8,000, have been fighting the development for three years. They're concerned about their community and landscape being transformed, and about impacts to 20-mile-long Lake Cascade. Tonya Dombrowski, a state water-quality specialist, says if the development is not managed properly, it could increase erosion, runoff and nutrient loading in the lake.
But WestRock has gained support from the state land board, which OK'd a 10-year lease on 2,124 acres of state land, and the Army Corps of Engineers has issued a permit to fill in wetlands.
"A 3,000-acre resort with 5,000 people shouldn't be exempted from the Clean Water Act," says Charles Ray of Citizens for Valley County, a group that challenged the Corps permit with a lawsuit. A district judge dismissed the case, but the group is appealing in federal court.