The NH ski industry has been a part of my life since day one. I literally have grown up at the bottom of the slopes of Dartmouth Skiiway. I have been a racer all my life and have for years had my fair share of extensively traveling NH mountains and sampling all that the NH ski industry has had to offer. It was not until recently that I have come to understand that my beloved ski mountains are also well entrenched in environmental issues. Being a resource economics major I now realize that the NH ski industry is no longer the perfect wonderland it seemed to me as a child. Topics such as wildlife habitat, water quality and stream health, air pollution and much more are now all directly impacted by the industry. No longer can lifts be built and new larger, faster snowmaking devices be used without first giving a lot of thoughts to the environmental impacts that may occur. Yet the industry is always expanding and looking for new and different ways to attract more and more people. These expansions have many issues to talk of but the one I would like to focus on is the development of real-estate at the resorts. The process of building huge complexes to house the throngs of people that year after year come back for visits.
Issues such as water use and air pollution are all very important, and whole papers could be devoted to those topics. Being a native New Englander it is not so much the new trails being built or the sophisticated snow making systems that are being created that has caught my eye as much as the developmental sprawl that seems to be overtaking NH resorts. I belive that most ski areas try to do right by the environment, and use the best available technology to keep the ind...
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...ess beuty and the small homely towns in which it resides. Developmental sprawl is an eyesore in many of these towns and stands to benefit nobody besides the big guns up in the large corporations. The industries Preamble in the Sustainable Slopes program is a strong indicator that we are on the right track, "A strong environment ethic underlies our operations, makes us stewards of the natural surroundings, and is the basis for our commitment to constant improvement in environmental conditions." (http://www.clf.org/hot/20000614.htm) In the future the communities in NH that can offer the most unique experience will benefit the most. By unique I do not mean fany condos, and five star restaurants on the main strip through town. The NH industry should begin to bank on their small mountain experience, come to where loyalty and environment still mean something to the state.
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