Hermitage Club seeks federal permit for snowmaking projects
DEERFIELD VALLEY — To enhance snowmaking operations at Haystack Mountain, the Hermitage Club is hoping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will sign off on a permit.
"Typically, we won't know all the issues and concerns from the public or federal, state and local agencies until the comment period closes on Oct. 20," said Tim Dugan, media relations officer for the Army Corps of Engineers New England District.
The Hermitage Club, which runs a private ski resort on Haystack, is proposing to place fill into 70,348 square feet or 1.6 acres of federal waters. An additional 5,554 square feet or 0.13 acres of forested wetlands will be cleared if approved.
Mirror Lake — the snowmaking pond shared with Mount Snow until the neighboring ski resort's new water source, West Lake, is completed — would be expanded from 14.6 to 28.4 million gallons.
The 22 million gallon Siegel Pond would be constructed south of Mirror Lake and north of Haystack Brook for snowmaking purposes at Haystack.
The existing Cold Brook withdrawal would be upgraded. An existing dam would be removed and a new inflatable dam structure would be installed.
"The work is proposed in various streams and wetlands adjacent to the existing Haystack Mountain Ski Area and Hermitage Inn off of Gate House Road in Dover," a press release from the Army Corps of Engineers stated. "The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands."
More terrain would open as a result of the project and all the trails with lift service at Haystack would be covered. The company expects trail access to go from the current 147 acres to 193.3 acres after clearing, according to the permit application.
"That permit is being reviewed," Dugan said. "Generally, our goal is to make a permit decision within 120 days of a permit application. But it also depends on what the comments and issues are."
The project has to do the company's overall goal of turning the ski area and Hermitage Inn properties into a year-round resort. A new Clubhouse with amenities opened at Haystack 2014. A 93-unit hotel is being proposed. Approximately 550 residential homes will be available.
"Probable impact of the proposed activity on the public interest" will be evaluated by the Army Corps of Engineers, according to the permit application.
Call Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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