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Fall / Winter 2011 - 12


Concerns Over Proposed High-Elevation
Rezoning Near Panther Meadows

by Michelle Berditschevsky

A proposal submitted to Siskiyou County to rezone 772 acres high on Mount Shasta's slopes is of great concern to many people. Those of us who spent ten years safeguarding the area from large-scale ski development in the 80s and 90s are especially hawk-eyed about this threat.
The rezoning proposal involves more than one square mile of private land owned by Roseburg Timber Products, situated just below the Panther Meadows campground. The company is requesting to change the designation from a Timber Production Zone to Rural Residential Agricultural (RRA-40), which could lead to subdividing the land into 40-acre parcels, potentially opening it to commercial development.

Shades of Lemuria Village

This same 772-acre parcel was the site of “Lemuria Village,” the condominium development proposed as part of the commercial ski resort in the 1980s. As many of our readers know, the Ecology Center got its start in the decade-long challenge to the resort, which culminated in 1998 when the Forest Service took back the permit awarded to developer Carl Martin.

The superlative value of Mount Shasta

Then as now we speak for many who consider Panther Meadows “the jewel of Mount Shasta.” The Mount Shasta Cosmological District and Panther Meadows Native American Ceremonial Site—recognized by the National Register of Historic Places—could potentially be greatly affected by the proposed rezoning. We need to again remind our public servants and elected officials of Mount Shasta's value as world-class destination for visitors who come from around the globe, from as far away as Europe and Japan. Travelers, nature lovers, spiritual seekers, backcountry skiers and hikers visit the Mountain because of its pristine beauty and grandeur. The fact that it rises high above the encroachments of civilization gives visitors a timeless and unique experience that is healing, inspiring and unforgettable.

Proposed Ski Area1989 map showing the former Lemuria Village site, now proposed for rezoning

 

Potential Impacts

We stand in strong opposition to the rezoning and have submitted comments to Siskiyou County. The impacts of rezoning this remote environmentally sensitive area from a zone that limits development to one that would encourage development would be very controversial. Dividing the Roseburg timberland into as much as 20 parcels (with a potential for 40 houses and guest houses) could result in multiple ownerships and would invite conflicting uses to this side of the Mountain. Under the California Environmental Quality Act, an action that is controversial must undergo environment review leading to an Environmental Impact Report. Because the proposed action could also affect public lands, the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act will also come into play. Impacts of potential development include effects on the traditional cultural sites, on the watershed, on forests, and cumulative impacts from associated development,

Views from the high slopes of Mount Shasta, from the Mount Shasta Wilderness, National Landmark, Native American Cosmological District, from Panther Meadows, Bunny Flat, Grey Butte, Sargent's Ridge, Shastarama Point, Green Butte, and many other well-loved places could be impacted by the proposed rezoning. Development would change the scenic quality of the Mountain by changing the vegetation, the colors, the forests and character of the area.
Our comments to the county can be seen at the link.

Reaching for a cooperative solution

Mount Shasta at dusk

 

We are striving to work in cooperation with all concerned stakeholders toward a solution involving a meaningful dialogue in which the overall good is considered before commitments are made, recognizing that preserving the Mountain in its natural grandeur is of paramount importance to our local communities, to Native Americans, and to people from all over the world.

 

Copyright © 2008 Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center