Wachusett Mountain Prepares for Supreme Court


Princeton, MA, Aug. 30--Wachusett Mountain Ski Area's battle with the Sierra Club of Massachusetts and 17 private citizens is not over despite a ruling last Friday from the state Court of Appeals that halted plans to cut eight acres of trees for two new trails at midmountain. According to David Crowley, Wachusett's general manager, a motion to bring the case to trial before the state's Supreme Judicial Court would probably be filed tomorrow. It will be made in answer to last Friday's ruling, which supported an injunction against the trail work because of its apparent proximity to the largest stand of old-growth forest in the state. But the resort came up with a compromise plan to assure no old-growth forest on the mountain would be touched and completed a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Report at the state's request. Now, it looks like the ski area and two powerful allies will go to trial to show that their environmental planning will protect the area's ecology.

"The Massachusetts Attorney General's office is going to fight it because the Secretary of Environmental Affairs and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are being sued along with us," Crowley said today. "We're only listed third on the suit." He said that while the timing of the court process "is not great" because Wachusett was hoping to have the two trails open for Christmas, "no MEPA certificate has been successfully overturned in court." Crowley was talking about the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act certificate granted the expansion plan a year ago. "It's the highest level of environmental review and we passed," he said. "This has not been an easy road."