SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- A state appeals court has halted plans to expand the Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park until the state Parks and Recreation Commission studies how a new chairlift would impact old-growth forest, meadows and wetlands.
Plans for a 279-acre expansion had been challenged by the Lands Council.
The ski resort operates on 1,450 acres in Mount Spokane State Park. It wants to add the chairlift and seven runs on the mountain's northwest side to access deeper snow to extend its season and compete with other ski resorts.
The parks commission had designated the land for recreation. The Lands Council appealed, and the appeals court said an environmental impact statement is required.
Previously, Spokane County sided with a group of conservationists known as the “Save Mount Spokane Coalition” when it ruled against permitting Mount Spokane 2000, the group that operates the ski area, to harvest trees. It told the group it must complete more research, particularly regarding Canadian lynx and goshawks, known to live on Mount Spokane.
The Lands Council, Sierra Club, Spokane Mountaineers, Northeast Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society, Conservation Northwest Eastern Environmental, and Spokane Audubon Society make up the Save Mount Spokane Coalition. Previously, they believed the new chairlift and its seven new ski runs would destroy Spokane County’s largest remaining old-growth forest.
Mount Spokane 2000 planned to install the chairlift next summer before the court's ruling.