FLAGSTAFF - Continuing opposition to a Flagstaff ski area's use of reclaimed wastewater to make snow is rubbing off on some local businesses.
Protesters have held signs and passed out leaflets outside businesses that held events for Arizona Snowbowl this week to celebrate the ski area's 75 years of existence, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.
"There's a large portion of the community that feels alienated because of Snowbowl's actions," said protester Grayson Lookner.
Altitudes Bar and Grill owner Lynda Fleischer said it was unfair to target her business when its celebratory event was for the ski area, not snowmaking.
"It affected my staff. It was very negative to their evening," she said of the protest outside her business.
Seeking to boost business when Mother Nature didn't provide enough snow for skiing, Snowbowl in December began using treated wastewater from Flagstaff to make snow.
The effort was years in the making.
From the start, American Indian tribes were against the plan. They first argued that it would violate their religious rights, then that the reclaimed wastewater would make people sick.
However, courts have upheld the U.S. Forest Service's decision allowing the renovations to the ski area, which is located on forest land in the San Francisco Peaks.
Previous Snowbowl-related protests in Flagstaff targeted businesses that rented machinery to contractors building a water pipeline to the ski area.
People protesting Snowbowl stood outside Collins Irish Pub and Grill on Monday night, and while owner Ki Won Choi said he wasn't thrilled, there were more protesters outside than patrons indoors.
"They weren't being violent or anything like that or making too big a deal. We were slow that night anyway, so it wasn't that big a deal," he said.