For decades, Leelanau County’s Sugarloaf Mountain was a destination ski and golf resort that attracted families from throughout the Midwest and was an important employer for a county that has little to offer jobwise through the winter months. But the ski hill and hotel closed in the winter of 2000 (golf courses were purchased and operated separately) and has never reopened. Making matters worse, the resort’s ownership is shrouded in mystery, and pending sales always fall apart for reasons not always clear.

County Commissioner David Shiflet feels it’s time to cut through the murkiness and do whatever it takes to get Sugarloaf back up and running and return it to its place as the economic engine it once was for Leelanau. Enlisting the power of the Internet, Shiflet put a petition online encouraging people to endorse the idea of forming a public/private partnership to move forward. Thus far, more than 800 people have endorsed the petition, with many adding comments covering a range of emotions: "Bring back the loaf!" "This has to be resolved once and for all." "Let the stimulus do something besides line politicians’ pockets"

The language for the petition is below. Want to vote and add a comment of your own? Go to GoPetition: Purchase and Redevelop Sugarloaf.

Petition:We, the undersigned Leelanau County tax payers, residents, visitors, and friends, call on Leelanau County’s Landbank authority, Brownfield Redevelopment authority, Economic Development Corporation, with assistance from Leelanau County Board of Commission, Cleveland Twp. Board, Centerville Twp. Board, to take the necessary steps to get control of the lands, buildings, recreational facilities, and Infrastructure that make up the historical Sugar Loaf Resort Hotel, Ski Runs, Sugar Barn, and Sugar Loaf Service Company and Sewer Plant, including, if necessary, the formation of a nonprofit or municipal entity to manage the facility for the benefit of the entire community.

We urge all private and governmental entities, and all citizens, to come together in a joint effort to bring about the redevelopment of this significant community asset.

Photo(s) by farlane