Glad you made it.
Thank you for your interest in protecting the Granite Chief Wilderness Area from special interests. We owe these pristine lakes and mountains to our future generations. Here you’ll be able to keep up with the major developments planned in the Granite Chief Wilderness Area Region, and see what you can do to help protect our national treasure.
UPDATE: Please sign our petition urging the Forest Service to follow Congress’s directive to purchase the designated wilderness lands that are threatened with destruction to protect them in perpetuity:
KSL Capital Partners has big plans for the Squaw-Alpine and Granite Chief Wilderness/Five Lakes Area in Tahoe’s beautiful Sierra Mountains. Their plans? Purchase Squaw Valley (done), purchase Alpine Meadows (done), and develop and monetize every possible portion of our natural resources and the surrounding wilderness. The purpose: to bring a hefty corporate profit to their exclusive, private investors.
A key component to their plan—and one we are committed to preventing—is a gondola between Alpine and Squaw Valley that would cut through the Designated Granite Chief Wilderness Area and the Five Lakes Trail.
Why does KSL want to desecrate Tahoe’s natural beauty, including a protected wilderness area, with 37 lift towers, propane tanks, exploders and other infrastructure? Why do they want to drape thick black cables with gondola cars carrying 1,400 passengers an hour across the clear blue Sierra sky? Why don’t they care about the significant avalanche and fire safety concerns, the environmental damage they could cause?
Because KSL is here to make money.
Ever since KSL purchased Squaw in 2010, they’ve known exactly what they wanted to do: turn Squaw and Alpine into a commercial cash cow. Don’t believe us? KSL Managing Partner Eric Resnick stated the reason for KSL’s purchase of Squaw was to exploit the “great growth potential.” From the KSL website: Our goal is to first organically increase cash flow, while strategically looking at growth opportunities through development, ancillary revenue and add-on acquisitions.
Wondering what KSL considers “great growth?”
- Further develop Squaw with 4 city blocks of high rise buildings, a water park, and 300,000 sq ft of commercial area.
- Construct a gondola between Alpine and Squaw, through land designated to be wilderness, for the purpose of creating a “mega-resort” while ignoring the countless negative consequences of an influx of many more tourists. Who cares if people get burned up in their cars because they can’t get out during a wildfire, right? As long as KSL provides an “aggressive return” for their investors, of course.
- Offload more skiers into Alpine Meadows, which the local, long time and frequent Tahoe skiers cite as that valuable respite from Squaw’s busier, noisier and more commercial establishment.
- Bring an estimated 8,000 cars to roads already bumper to bumper from Truckee to Tahoe City, making it even more frustrating and sad to us all, and the more difficult for rescue vehicles to access fires, avalanches and emergency evacuations.
Here’s what KSL wants you to believe:
- Don’t worry about the gondola cutting through the Designated Granite Chief Wilderness—land Congress wanted permanently protected for us and future generations. Don’t concern yourself with the fact that construction of any kind on that land would forever remove it from the “Public Trust,” never to be wilderness again.
- Forget that construction and operations of the gondola would directly impact an endangered species, the Sierra yellow-legged frog (the gondola’s ‘Alpine Mid-station’ would sit on known frog habitat). KSL will claim to “mitigate” the harm to this species, even though this particular habitat is irreplaceable.
- Believe them when they tell you that they’ll only run the gondola during the ski season, despite the fact that the ski seasons are shortening. Once the gondola is operational, expect Squaw to request summer operations. It’s an old trick for getting initial approvals through permit processes by minimizing the identification of project impacts. The real profits from the gondola would come from year-round promotions and operations. KSL is not about to pass up those “benefits” to their private investors.
- Ignore the implications of offloading 1,400 people at a mid-station so they can take a short walk to Five Lakes and into a real Wilderness, coffee cup and Pokeman in hand. Yet the fragility of this high mountain ecosystem would not withstand this recklessness.
- Trust them when they tell you that you won’t be able to see or hear the gondola towers, cables, propane tanks, gas pipelines and concrete bunkers from the Wilderness or Five Lakes Area, even though the available maps show Gasex Exploders, fuel storage facilities, numerous towers and pipelines nearby.
KSL is asking that you believe they have your best interest at heart, they will do what is best for the community and the environment. But there is no proof that they have any such motivation. These are the folks that spent $850,000 to kill the local effort to create a community-based government, because it might slow them down. KSL has a singular objective: financial profit.
We, the folks at Protect Granite Chief, have no such financial incentive. We are simply a group of citizens committed to protecting the Granite Chief Wilderness and Five Lakes for future generations.
This is what we believe:
- We believe our children should see Tahoe in as much of it’s incredible splendor as we can give them. These special areas that hold exceptional natural beauty must be preserved for the future, not exploited for private gain.
- We believe that safety and environmental stewardship is more important than profit. As we’ve seen countless times, when corporations put profits before safety and protecting the environment, the consequences can be dire. (Remember BP and the Deepwater horizon spill).
- We believe that allowing KSL to turn these natural resources into a ‘Disneyland in the Sierras’ is short-sighted and too high a cost to our public lands and our future generations.
- We believe in the power of good people banding together to stop private corporate profiteering that would harm the public’s natural resources and jeopardize the safety of the community.
- We believe in you. Do you believe in us? Click here to donate to the cause.