The time to boycott Ski Ashland is now

The time to boycott Ski Ashland is now

The proposed expansion doubles the size of the ski area and would cut multiple runs into the fragile headwaters of Ashland Creek, the very source of Ashland's drinking water supply. The development will unquestionably increase peak flows during flood events, escalate sedimentation to Ashland's drinking water reservoir, degrade Ashland's water quality and eventually result in heavy costs to the Ashland taxpayer. The documented record of the relationship between disturbance and sedimentation in the Ashland Creek watershed cannot be denied.

There could not be a worse time to propose expansion. With the broader economy continuing to suffer, the aging infrastructure on the ski area in desperate need of investment, and end of year carryover funds for the ski area at nearly zero; this reckless board of directors continues to push forward.

Ten years ago the ski area could boast a large savings fund. This no longer exists and was squandered pushing for the expansion instead of investing in needed upgrades like the replacement of Ariel lift. The board even went so far as to sue the city of Ashland for requesting modest oversight, costing Ashland taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The expansion project is now imminent with a final decision from the Forest Service to proceed, and without citizen action, it will proceed. Funding for the expansion is now the critical element.

The citizens of Ashland have historically and will continue to defend our water supply from the interests of resource extraction and development. We now have a responsibility to take action by refusing to support the ski area through buying season passes and lift tickets this year.

The nonviolent act of boycotting the ski area can and will be effective in bringing the Mt. Ashland Association to the table to discuss alternatives. Our community, solidly united in nonviolence, can and will see our municipal water supply protected from the radical view that heedless growth is indomitable.

We as a community have offered alternatives that place water protection as a priority. We have commented to the Forest Service, protested in the streets, and pleaded to the Mt. Ashland Association board. We have repeatedly been ignored and they have driven forward the same alternative without compromise. We now have no choice but to boycott.

It is also up to our business community to join hands with those of us demanding reasonable alternatives and not sponsor this politically divisive and irresponsible project. Our desire is to build bridges and come together as a community for the protection of our water source.

Please join me and many others in making the responsible choice by not skiing Mount Ashland this year. We are a community that understands the power of nonviolence and the power of our personal choices. Let us all exercise that power to defend our municipal watershed and water supply through a unified boycott of Ski Ashland.

The time is now!

Eric Navickas

Ashland