Reject the snowmobile club's Eaglecrest plan

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2007

In discussing the issue of snowmobiles at Eaglecrest, I find it striking that a stance by Eaglecrest management has been publicly neutral. Surely they know the Juneau Snowmobile Club's proposal doesn't account for realistic administration and enforcement, both of which will fall to the city or Eaglecrest to make happen. Without their input there's no way the Eaglecrest Board of Directors or Assembly can know what exactly it is they are voting for or against.

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Where exactly is the revenue to come from, and what are the expenses associated with this deal? So far all we've heard are emotional appeals in hearings.

As a former member of Eaglecrest management, I can attest to having witnessed so many transgressions of the rules set forth in its Operating Plan to know how much effort goes into compiling it, administering it after annual approval by the state, as well as enforcing it day to day. Though not part of the plan, the city's ordinance prohibiting general motorized use at the area and its surrounding terrain was subject to regular violation. During my time at Eaglecrest, the ski area had no recourse but to call the Juneau Police Department. To my knowledge, there was never a prosecution attempted of the many trespass violations by snowmobilers between 1977 and 2002. Most of the time, it was like checking your crab pot and finding it ½ mile away and empty. You don't know who was responsible and would be wrong to blame anyone, let alone a group of people. All you know is that somebody did it. This proposal brings such a possibility to an everyday level, and with questionable gain.

I'm tired of Eaglecrest reinventing itself every few years, being sandwiched between reducing its deficit in the form of city subsidy and "broadening its base," which are two different things. It can't be everything to everybody. After 30 years, it should not be generating its own power like a logging camp. It's a little more than five miles (and a commitment from the board and Assembly) from a hookup. That should be a priority. The same is true of upgrades to its water and sewer systems. Without such upgrades there is no incentive for private investment, and without that we'll never escape the chase of the mythical revenue rainbow. This proposal is a turkey and should be rejected.

Rick Kaufman

Former Eaglecrest operations manager


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