Balsams Receives Wetlands Permit; Redevelopment Is On A Roll
The redevelopment team, lead by Les Otten, has received a wetlands permit from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
Earlier in the month, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests approved a request for an amendment to the conservation restrictions on land at the Balsams to allow the construction of two ski lifts and certain trails.
The amendment requires specific mitigation that significantly enhances the protection of old growth forest and high elevation habitat.
In exchange for permitting to build the lifts and trails, The Balsams will give the state and the Forest Society land and easement rights to protect 959 acres of critical wildlife habitat. This is in addition to 5,670 acres previously placed in conservation.
“Dixville Notch’s natural wonders are the Balsams’ greatest assets,” Otten said. “Protecting and preserving this beautiful wilderness through responsible, concentrated development is paramount. This wetlands permit is a testament to our promise to develop in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner and is the most significant milestone to date. We have taken a great leap forward in creating a year-round, world-class, destination resort which includes a major expansion of The Balsams Wilderness Ski Area.”
Following the finalization of the financing package and the site plan review with the Coos County Planning Board, “later in the spring we hope to kick off the development,” spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne told SnoCounty.com.
The Balsams’ project has been gathering momentum and support throughout 2015. In May, the state passed SB 30, allowing the N.H. Business Finance Authority to consider a $20 million loan guarantee for the project. In July, the project received clearance to withdraw water from the Androscoggin River for snowmaking, and in the past two months zoning amendments and planned unit development were approved.
Photos: Top -- The Balsams will offer 2,000 acres of alpine terrain accessed by 23 lifts at build-out. (The Balsams); Below -- Dixville Notch’s high elevation means more snow for skiers. (The Balsams)