Saddleback Sees Disaster in Park Service Recommendation

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Rangeley, ME Feb. 2--The National Park Service's recommendation for preserving a 3.1-mile segment of the Appalachian Trail that crosses the summit of Saddleback Mountain would ruin the ski area's business, according to Tom McAllister, VP and general manager of the resort. He says preservation of the trail section wouldeliminate the possibility of Saddleback skiers crossing the trail to reachthe undeveloped backside of the mountain.

The Park Service recommendation was released in a summary report on optionsfor preserving the section of trail sought by the Appalachian TrailConference (ATC). The final decision on the fate of the trail section willbe based on negotiations with ski area representatives, which date back to1984. But talks have often stalled as the ski area has pushed to maintainits access rights to the backside and to develop other parts of themountain in the future, maintaining eliminating that possibility wouldamount to a death sentence for the area. Appalachian Trail hikers areconcerned with keeping ski lifts from interfering with views, according toofficials with the ATC.