Ski Resort and Condor Threat

March 08, 1985

I wish to thank Times staff writer Robert A. Jones for his article (Feb. 24), "Condor Threat Feared If Ski Resort Is Built On Sierra Site." You have alerted many people to the fact that despite rules and laws, even government agencies do at times ignore the laws, in this case the U.S. Sequoia National Forest.

There are many other issues that are also being covered up, or not addressed as important, by the U.S. Forest Service. Yes, the condor gets everyone's attention, and it is a vitally important issue, but there are other issues also at stake. One example is the water supply to make artificial snow. Is the area served by the Kern Watershed District aware that its water supply may be tapped?

Another example is the condition of the roads leading to the proposed ski resort once the traveler leaves a main highway. Not only do these roads go through the habitats of other endangered species besides the condor and plants, these are long, narrow, winding roads that any Los Angeles driver would find totally unacceptable. On top of that, add the proposed traffic to the proposed ski area, and the roads would deteriorate quickly.

Also think what will happen to the land value of farms along the roads leading to the proposed ski area? JEAN VAFEADES


The California condor captive breeding program is designed to replenish the population of these large birds in the wild. If this program is a success, the existing habitats should be enough to accommodate the eventual population of approximately 200 birds.

If the Peppermint Mountain Ski Resort is allowed to be developed it will set a precedent for future development in the region east of the San Joaquin Valley city of Visalia. This could mean the loss of valuable land needed to sustain the eventual population projected for the future. The California condors' habitats in the San Joaquin Valley area, southern Sierra Nevada area, and the coastal area must be preserved to ensure their survival.

The region in which the proposed ski resort is to be located is said to be presently used by the condors as a nesting area, roosting area, and areas for food foraging. If this development is allowed to pass it may reduce the already nearly extinct population. I hope we are not as greedy as to reduce the chances for survival of one of the largest birds in existence today just so we can have another clear-cut slope to ski down. JAMES P. BENEDETTI


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