Forest Service has the facts on its side

Forest Service has the facts on its side

Nobody understands the terrain of the Mount Ashland ski area better than the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service has conducted exhaustive reviews of the proposed improvements. They did an initial review and have verified the accuracy of the work on many occasions due to the serial challenges mounted by the opposition.

The Forest Service relies on facts rather than myths and unsupported claims advanced by those who oppose the proposed improvements to the ount Ashland ski area.

The opponents are now reduced to manufacturing "evidence" — with the hopes that an unsuspecting public will believe the "evidence" to be true by virtue of its repeated appearance. Please do not be fooled by these false claims.

Recent claims by Bill Hicks and George Badura are no more than that. Unlike Hicks and Badura, the Forest Service had personnel on the ground examining the area itself rather than relying on others' long-distance observations. Oregon's Department of Geology and Mineral Industries appears to agree with the Forest Service in the area of the improvements: Most of the deposits are glacial and not from landslides.

The opposition is now claiming features created during the last ice age are landslide deposits. Simply put, the evidence supports no such claim. The Forest Service has been supported in this finding by two federal courts. The Court of Appeals found three minor problems with the Forest Service science related to the improvements, and those three areas of concern have been addressed.

There is no landslide danger in the area of proposed improvements at Mount Ashland, nor is there any danger to Reeder Reservoir from Mount Ashland. Hicks and Badura offer no support for their claims of erosion.

The undisputed scientific evidence is that after the improvements are complete there will be less erosion to Reeder Reservoir. This is because of the extensive remediation projects Mount Ashland is bound to undertake as part of the improvements.

One is left to speculate as to why the opposition won't agree to let the Mt. Ashland Association begin the remediation projects that will improve the watershed. Rather, our opponents claim they are attempting to preserve the watershed while their actions are the exact opposite. The Sierra Club is preventing the Mt. Ashland Association from taking steps it has agreed to that will help the watershed.

Frank Rote, president, Mt. Ashland Association

Medford