STONEHAM – The former 260-acre Evergreen Valley Ski Resort has been sold.
Hebron resident Harold Brooks confirmed Monday that the property has been sold to his brother-in-law Ray Gilliuan and his sister Tina under the name Evergreen Valley Development LLC. According to Registry of Deeds the sale was made by former owner Bob Bahre and his wife Sandra on December 4.
The sale was made to the Minot couple for an undisclosed, but “very reasonable” price, said Brooks. Bahre, former owner of New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford and former partner in the Oxford Casino, purchased the property for $1.35 million in 1986, three years after the resort closed.
Brooks, who had attempted to purchase the property himself, said he will remain active in the property’s future. Initially he will help to stabilize the buildings by putting on a new roof on one of the buildings and other addressing other maintenance issues on the remote property that abuts the White Mountain National Forest.
At this point, Brooks said he continues to envision the land being used as a cultural and environmental center, open to the public, but he does not see the Redneck Blank Pig Roast and Music Festival games being held on the property.
“It’s a 28,000 square-foot property. It’s designed to have people on it,” Brooks said.
Originally, Brooks had said he envisioned a wide variety of events, including music and spiritual festivals, winter activities, holiday meals, a Woodsman Day, exhibits of sculptures and paintings and stage productions and much more.
Brooks said he was disappointed in the response last year from some of the people in Stoneham, and nearby Lovell, when he announced his intentions to buy the property and use it for a variety of public events possibly including possibly his well-known Redneck Blank, Pig Roast and Music Festival.
The response included that from the Board of Selectmen who proposed a Mass Gathering Ordinance. Brooks said when he and Bahre’s representative Nancy Cushman went to a Board of Selectmen meeting in the fall to address the issue, neither one was allowed to speak.
Brooks said he felt they were disrespected and his First Amendment rights were being violated.
Brooks, who has dealt with the issue of mass gathering permits in his hometown of Hebron when he proposed the Redneck games on his land there, was initially met with the same reaction from some folks in Hebron
“It wasn’t meant to control your land. It was meant to make it (the event) safe,” he said of the mass gathering permit.
Brooks said he has not sold his land in Hebron yet and is not sure whether the Redneck games will be held there next summer.
He said he has made an effort to try to calm people’s concern about what will happen at the Evergreen Valley property and has been somewhat successful in doing so. He said he is even working with the owner of the adjacent Evergreen Valley Inn and Villas, who last year expressed concern about Brook’s proposal at the former ski resort, to help resolve a water problem he said the inn was having.
Although disappointed from what he considers to be months of disrespectful and hurtful comments primarily from some of the local politicians and those in power, Brooks says he still hopes the future of the property will allow the public, particularly students and disabled veterans, to enjoy the beautiful environment.
But the perception of who has the right to determine the property’s future needs to change in some cases, he said.
“People have always thought of it as public land. It’s owned by a private entity,” Brooks said. “They have to see is as private land.”
The alternative, he said, was a second buyer who was ready to purchase the land and from what he heard, tear down all the buildings.