22-23 SEASON PASSES ON SALE
Rob Rybarczyk, letter to the editor
Published 11:51 a.m. CT Sept. 15, 2017
Wausau Daily Herald
EDITOR: A short while ago I read a letter in the Wausau Daily Herald discussing “the very nature of a park,” particularly as it relates to skiing at Rib Mountain. Personally, I am in favor of the expansion of Granite Peak. I fully understand the potential economic impact that the hill brings to our community will be as much as $54 million annually, which is a sum that we cannot overlook.
What piqued my curiosity was the long tradition of skiing that has been the centerpiece of Rib Mountain State Park. Since the 1930s, skiing has been an integral component of the park, and, in fact, it was our community’s residents, almost 90 years ago, who pushed strongly for a local ski area as part of the park’s original plan. At that time, most of the park’s land was dedicated to the ski hill.
As the park significantly expanded through the years, the skiing component has expanded very little. Today, even with the proposed expansion, the vast majority of the park will not be used for skiing, in spite of the fact that skiing was to be the park’s main use of land.
There are about 477 ski resorts in the U.S. It is estimated that nearly 75% of all skier visits in the country take place in parks or on national forest land. Skiing on public lands is the norm, not the exception.