Sunday, April 03, 2011

One of the abandoned Disney projects which will have to be analyzed someday is Mineral King. I have just picked up this book on Amazon (not sure how good it is) to try and understand more about the controversy that surrounded it. John Harper was definitely not on Disney's side and a large, balanced essay on the subject is long overdue.


Floyd Norman said...

I attended one of Walt's pitches for Mineral King back in the sixties. Disney wanted to build a unique vacation venue in the high sierras, but the environmentalists fought back tooth and nail until Walt gave up on the whole concept.

Jason Schultz said...

I wrote part of my master's thesis on Mineral King, so I have some knowledge of the subject. Walt was never around long enough to give up on Mineral King, as he died in 1966 and the project wasn't abandoned until the late 1970s.

As John Harper's extraordinary book makes clear, a real problem to the proposal was the lack of an all-weather highway to get up there. Disney did not want to pay for it and was unable to get the state or Federal government to pay for its construction. (As governor, Reagan actually stopped California from funding it.) There were also problems with safety--a snow surveyor working for Disney was killed by an avalanche in an area which experienced them regularly (and right where Disney was planning to build its guest facilities).

Didier, although Harper worked for the Sierra Club, the book is very balanced and a really detailed chronicling of the story--surely the best history of Mineral King's possible development as a ski resort that exists.