Placer County has issued a public notice of a formal application for the Squaw-to-Alpine Gondola. The information includes maps and a description of various project components that would be constructed on the ridge and down the slopes (more than we have heard in the presentations by KSL / Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and Troy Caldwell).
For the $30 million investment, the proposed gondola wouldn’t open up much new ski terrain, and they estimate that this new infrastructure would take only 100 cars off of Highway 89 between Squaw and Alpine (weekend traffic volumes are in the several thousands). We are scratching our heads about this proposal and the stated justification to reduce traffic volumes, but KSL is pushing forward.
From the start, we have strongly suspected that the proposed gondola would not make a meaningful impact on traffic volumes (as confirmed by the initial permit application). But we are even more concerned about likely impacts to the Granite Chief Wilderness, and particularly to the beloved Five Lakes and the public trail that begins on Troy Caldwell’s property. We anticipate related permit applications for proposed developments on Caldwell’s land at some future point (to authorize construction of 38 new houses, chair lift(s), and a private ski resort).
Protect Granite Chief needs to ratchet up our campaign to increase public awareness, build collaboration with other local groups, work with the Forest Service to achieve a thorough impacts analysis, get legal counsel engaged, and continue other efforts to ensure that the county will be accountable throughout the permitting and public input processes.
We need your support!
Any financial contribution you can make to the Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League (i.e. “Protect Granite Chief”) will substantively help us to protect the treasures of Granite Chief, Five Lakes, and Alpine Meadows. Contributions are fully deductible per the IRS 501(c)(3) guidelines.
You can mail checks to Protect Granite Chief, 187 E. Blythedale Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941, or donate online via the PayPal link on our home page.
Thank you so much for your support to protect this national treasure. Happy Holidays and we hope to see you in the New Year!