Wednesday morning September 26th the ARISE group in Tupper Lake, headed by local real estate developer Jim LaValley, issued a press release announcing that the Big Tupper Ski Area will not open this winter and focusing the blame squarely on PROTECT-Sierra Club and our lawsuit. This is the most recent in what has become a string a unsubstantiated accusations from Mr. LaValley to scapegoat PROTECT-Sierra Clubs for problems in the community.
The press picked up the story and for the most part, thankfully, reported both sides. See the Press Republican, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, YNN, Times Union, Watertown Daily Times, and North Country Public Radio.
PROTECT was contacted by Tupper area residents who reported that flagging volunteer enthusiasm, lack of snow all last winter, slim pre-season ticket sales. the fact that there is no snowmaking capacity on the mountain, and lack of support from the current owner of Big Tupper all weighed heavily on this decision, more than any lawsuit.
Mr. LaValley once again raised the issue of phantom investors who have been scared away by the lawsuit. This followed accusations last summer that the Wild Center in Tupper Lake had experienced a drop off in support due to our lawsuit (which the Wild Center denied) as well as an accusation that summer tourism had dropped off because of PROTECT and the Sierra Club. Mr. LaValley makes serious accusations. It’s time that he starts to substantiate them.
PROTECT’s lawsuit is important and addresses serious issues. It applies not only to the Adirondack Club & Resort project in Tupper, but to hundreds of thousands of acres across the Adirondack Park. We continue to feel that the APA vote to support this project was enabled by the APA’s decision not to follow its statute or rules and regulations as well as political influence. Had everything been evaluated in broad daylight, had the law and rules been followed, had the merits of the public hearing record been evaluated, had political influence not been exerted there would have been a different vote and a very different project would have likely been approved.