Construction has begun 90 miles north of Boise on the first new ski resort in North America in two decades (HCN, 12/20/99: An upscale development divides a town). Developer WestRock Resort envisions a year-round operation with a 3,600-acre ski hill, 2,000 luxury housing and hotel units, and an 18-hole golf course near tiny Donnelly, which today has a population of roughly 140. David Scott, a WestRock vice president, says the new resort will employ 1,400 people within 15 years and create another 1,400 jobs in support services.
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
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.