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North Country

Enviro Groups: Balsams' Plan To Make Snow From Androscoggin Water Needs More Detail

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Chris Jensen for NHPR
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Two environmental groups say they support the redevelopment of the Balsams resort, but more information is needed before the state gives its approval to water being taken from the Androscoggin River for snowmaking.

A key part of developer Les Otten’s redevelopment plan is greatly expanding the ski slopes but the extra snowmaking will require pumping water from the river about 10 miles to Dixville.

Taking that water requires the approval of the state’s Department of Environmental Services. The deadline for filing public comments on that request was last week. 

The Appalachian Mountain Club said it was “supportive” of the Balsams redevelopment but without more information it is hard to determine the impact on previous agreements on water use and “major significant questions remain about the potential impact of this project on the river’s ecosystem.”

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Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR
Developer Les Otten

The Androscoggin River Committee agreed more details were necessary to fully understand the ramifications of the project.

But Phoebe Backler, an official with the group, said it supports the Balsams redevelopment and is “very hopeful about the potential for redeveloping a local and beloved landmark.”

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