Letter to the Editor: Alpine coasters don’t belong at Tahoe
Ryan Summerlin July 4, 2013
The June 28, 2013, Sierra Sun story, “Northstar California’s alpine coaster proposal facing appeal,” might lead a reader to believe that the project was met with wild enthusiasm by the Tahoe Basin and Truckee communities.
In fact, the permit was denied by the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council (NTRAC) in a split vote in their meeting on May 9, the week before it went to the Placer County Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission heard from objections from several Northstar residents. One of the Planning Commissioners also voiced some concerns before the …”unanimous approval.”
There are environmental and safety issues to the Forest Flyer, among them noise, scenic assessment, traffic and safety. This attraction will be operating year-round. Almost 75 conifer pine trees will be removed.
And how can there be no significant noise impact with children and adults screaming, riding on a toboggan hurtling downhill at 25 mph along a winding, half-mile track on the mountain? Is this the proper way to enjoy the forest?
There was also no impact to traffic, as the ride is only intended for “Northstar residents and guests.” So, if anybody else wanted to use the ride, I guess they’re out of luck. Safety is another issue — only temporary fencing will protect skiers or anyone else from the structure.
And the Forest Flyer track will reach 18 feet or higher so Snowcats can be driven underneath the ride. How can this not have any visual impact? How about unintended consequences of the noise and traffic during the winter season, when animals are hibernating?
So if Northstar deems that these types of rides are necessary to continue their profit and guest counts, the community is to applaud in unison. But it should be a concern to all that if this ride is allowed to be built this summer in Northstar, and probably shortly after in Heavenly Valley, that roller coasters are acceptable in Tahoe and Truckee.
And, what next, for the thrill riders? Aren’t zip lines and mountain biking sufficient? These types of rides belong appropriately in Disneyland or Seven Flags, not in an alpine environment.