Ski resort beefs up

  The Forest Service won't allow developers on Oregon's Mount Hood to expand onto more public land. But the agency will allow 5,000 more skiers, six new chairlifts and a restaurant on the slopes. The Mount Hood Meadows ski area is a private business that operates on Forest Service land under a special-use permit.

The developers, led by Portland businessman Franklin Drake, had wanted to increase the number of skiers allowed on the mountain at one time from 8,600 to 15,000; the Forest Service capped the number at 13,900. "The resources can't just take more and more people on into infinity," Forest Service supervisor Roberta Moltzen told The Oregonian. "There are some limits."

The mixed decision met a mixed response from local citizens, who have until mid-March to appeal. Kate Mills of the Hood River Valley Residents Committee praised the agency for blocking expansion onto the adjacent White River Canyon area but said damaged streambeds, poorly drained parking lots and invasive ski lifts still need to be addressed. "I think (the resort owners) should have cleaned up their act on everything that they've already done," says Mills. "They have garbage running into the creeks and off of the parking lots."

* Sarah Dry

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