In the 1980s and 90s, Vermont’s ski areas faced significant pressure to develop, converting to four-season, destination resorts and second home communities. As ski areas made decisions that had negative effects on the surrounding environment (Killington got particular flak for its plans to use treated sewage for snowmaking), VNRC got to work. One of our longest and most contentious battles of this era was over Parker’s Gore.
In 1986, the Killington ski area applied for an Act 250 permit to construct a snowmaking pond in Mendon, VT, in a remote area known as Parker’s Gore East. As the Act 250 hearings progressed, it became apparent that Parker’s Gore was home to black bears, and that the beech forests there were a critical food source for them. Over the next several years, VNRC, along with Friends of Parker’s Gore and the Shrewsbury Land Trust, fought for protection of this area.
Our struggle was rewarded in 1990 when the Environmental Board denied permits to develop at Parker’s Gore. In the ensuing years, VNRC also helped Friends of Parker’s Gore and other parties negotiate over a potential merger of Killington and Pico ski areas that would have included protection of Parker’s Gore in the deal. In 1997, the Friends of Parker’s Gore, Killington, and the State of Vermont finally came together on an agreement. It included a swap of state-owned land in the Killington Basin, in which the ski area could grow, in exchange for thousands of acres in Parker’s Gore that would remain permanently protected.