RANGELEY, MAINE | October 27, 2016 -New life is being breathed into Saddleback Mountain this week as a group of ski lovers have joined forces to purchase the mountain in Maine’s High Peaks. The Saddleback Community Mountain Resort, LLC is now moving forward with a plan to raise enough money to purchase the mountain and re-open the ski area.
Peter Stein is leading the effort and said: “ We have been working with the owners of the mountain, the Berry Family on this for awhile and we now have their verbal agreement on the terms of a transaction and a roadmap to acquire the ski area. We need to raise $4 million and we will close on the deal. When we originally looked at the community purchase we had immediate interest with several people making financial commitments – now we will turn that passion into power to buy the mountain.”
People interested in participating can go to www.skisaddlebackme.com beginning later this week to contribute to the purchase. In the meantime, a team of people will be re-contacting interested participants to convert their financial interest into commitments. A survey and other fund raising probes conducted over the last year between July and September, showed more than 800 people interested in keeping the mountain open and more than $5 million in commitments.
Meanwhile, the impact of another idle season at Saddleback has hit the Franklin County community hard. Bald Mountain Camp owner Steve Philbrick says, “With Saddleback closed Rangeley and the greater surrounding area as a whole suffers because we have less to offer the tourism industry. When Rangeley suffers, the state of Maine suffers, Franklin County suffers and the economic wheel in Maine suffers. In short, Saddleback Ski Area is a crucial part of Maine’s economy as well as Rangeley and Northern Franklin County.”
Part of this deal includes the Trust for Public Land, which, partnering with the New England Forestry Foundation and others, intends to purchase 3249 acres of adjacent forestland as a separate but related transaction. Conservation partners want to see that the land is permanently conserved for long-term sustainable forestry and habitat values. Maine State Director Wolfe Tone said, “This is the coming together of the benefits, of land conservation, community economic development and community well-being. Conservation today is more than dollars and acres, our work is about focusing the outcomes of land conservation to benefit people and communities.”
Peter Stein added, “We are now poised to build a great foundation for Saddleback and the surrounding community. We are ready to go!”