January 28, 2021

Snow Bowl Recreation Director resigns

CAMDEN — Ken Bailey has had enough. He has submitted his resignation as Recreation Director after five ski seasons at the Camden Snow Bowl.

Bailey told Selectman Chairman Peter Warren in his resignation letter that the decision was made “for those who felt that the direction taken recently was not to their liking and offers a fresh start.”

But Bailey said he would “never, never, ever” recommend that the municipal ski area be closed, even after it amassed a three year deficit in the neighborhood of $100,000. “The mountain gets more use than any other facility in town and should be supported.”

In the resignation letter, Bailey said the decision was made “after much thought and family consideration after I completed five ski seasons at the snow bowl and just over four years of employment for town. During that time, I was fortunate to be the town’s first director of parks and recreation. The past four years brought about many changes and expansions to the town recreation program.

“It has been very rewarding to see this growth and the enjoyment these programs brought to young and old alike. During my involvement, I had the opportunity to work with other town employees who have always given 100 percent to their jobs and to the town.

During the many meetings, projects and work sessions at the Snow Bowl I have been fortunate to work with dozens of volunteers. It was the dedicated volunteers that brought the Snow Bowl into existence in 1935, and it will be volunteers and dedicated workers which will continue to maintain its position of importance to the community.

“After many difficult hours of decision, I find it necessary to submit my resignation as director of Parks and Recreation. I have discussed this decision with the members of the Parks and Recreation Committee and I assured them as I assure you that I will remain as long as needed to make transition as smooth as possible. My resignation will also allow the town to discuss and work on the problems at the Snow Bowl without personalities coming into play.”

“The real important consideration in the matter in the Snow Bowl and its continuous service to the communities,” the letter said.”

Bailey will meet with selectmen on Monday night to discuss the future of the program. He said he would stay two weeks or six months if the board wants the time to find a replacement. He declined to expand on his comments on those who criticized the direction of the program. “It was no one person. It was “certain folks” who “disagreed with a number of issues.”

It will be easier to find short term and long term solutions to the mounting deficit at the Snow Bowl “with the personalities out of it,” he said.

Bailey will recommend to selectmen that a new committee be formed to look into solutions to problems in the recreation department.

One change which will be made in the next fiscal year is the commingling of lodge rental revenues with deficits. The mountain generates about $10,000 a year in rentals. Currently revenues are not applied against expenses but are maintained separately.

One solution may be to “shrink the mountain” along the lines of Lost Valley with only a small percentage of the trails maintained, which would cut expensive snowmaking and other costs.

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