It was announced Tuesday evening that the Big Tupper Ski Area has been forced to close. ARISE Chairman Jim LaValley was joined by members of the Board, as well as managers and volunteers of the Big Tupper Ski Area, at P-2’s Pub in Tupper Lake.
LaValley said that the community of Tupper Lake and Big Tupper supporters should hold the Board and members of PROTECT the Adirondacks, the Sierra Club, Phyllis Thompson, and Bob & Leslie Harrison responsible for the closure. “Following the issuance of the permit for the Adirondack Club by the Adirondack Park Agency, Big Tupper was in a position to receive substantial financial assistance. With the filing of the Article 78 lawsuit, that opportunity dissolved, and we are forced to close.” LaValley went on to say that, “the Board and membership of PROTECT and the Sierra Club should be ashamed at the way they have chosen to attack a community by using Artice 78 lawsuits in a frivolous manner, and as a weapon against a project that was approved by the Adirondack Park Agency Commissioners with a 10:1 vote after 8 years of review.
The project was determined to not have an undue adverse impact on the Park’s resources. Peter Bauer, Bob Glennon, and John Caffry, have made their intentions clear by taking a very public position on how they want to kill the Adirondack Club and Resort. They have stated such in the press, and because of their actions it has forced the closure of the ski area, caused the further degradation of Tupper Lake, and flies in the face of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to improve and create a healthier Adirondack economy.”
LaValley added, “even if ARISE were financially able to continue the operation this season, given the on-going threat of lawsuits from Bauer, Glennon and Caffry, and the time frames of the legal process, it is my opinion that the volunteers would have to continue operating for another 3 to 6 years. We cannot expect the volunteers to continue for that long, nor can we afford to.”
LaValley showed that over the past three seasons, the expenses have outweighed the income, with the last season being the biggest. He said, “Donations and gifts have dropped off since the first year, and we will be looking at a difficult pre-season of ticket sales following the poor year we have just come out of. Even with the volunteer effort, it takes approximately $160,000 to run the entire season.” He told the group, “I hope you see the challenges.” The ARISE Board will be reviewing ways to utilize the money they hold, and money to be raised at the upcoming OkTupperfest.
LaValley concluded by saying, “The operational effort has been challenging for a number of people, who have given at a great personal cost. Your efforts will never be forgotten, and I’m sorry that the time has come for this very difficult decision.”