A California ski resort’s plan to erect a 20-foot tall statue of the Virgin Mary is being opposed by resort users who say they don’t want anything religious injected into their fun.
Mt. Shasta Ski Park, which is in north California’s Siskiyou County, said it plans to put the statue at the top on one ski slope, erect the statue at the top of its Douglas ski slope, according to KTVU-TV.
“The installation of this statue is very important to our owner as this was a shared goal with her late husband and business partner, Ray Merlo,” the resort posted on its Facebook page, noting that the platform for the statue already exists, and it will be in place next year.
“They have dedicated their resources to improving the Ski Park over the last few years and in the words of Robin Merlo, this statue is a promise fulfilled and a true representation of the dedication to family that we all value so much here at the Ski Park,” the post said.
The post noted that the statue’s purpose is to transcend theological differences in the name of love of all things and people.
“The goal is not to focus on any one religion but to acknowledge and honor the beauty and spiritual power of the mountain we all love so much,” the post said.
“Many of us have been skiing at our beloved local ski park in Mount Shasta since childhood. It has always been a place of joy, unity, and natural beauty. However, recent efforts to erect a religious statue threaten to disrupt this cherished environment,” the petition said.
“The ski park is not just an outdoor space; it’s our community’s gathering spot. It is where we teach our children to ski and where we meet with friends and family during the winter months. The religious icon currently under construction threatens to alienate members of our diverse community who do not share the same religious beliefs. Local gathering places, whether private or not, should remain neutral spaces that promote inclusivity and respect for all visitors,” the petition said.
The petition said the statue would spoil the existing view, writing, “Patrons of the ski park appreciate the natural beauty and spirituality for what it is already, without intrusive religious icons disturbing the environment.”
The petition called for the owners to stop the project and called on the U.S. Forest
“We suggest donating the money allocated for this project toward something that might actually benefit the community in a real way, such as a much-needed homeless shelter or detox facility,” the petition said.
According to KTVU, representatives of both the resort and Forest Service said the resort is on private land. The resort said it had already gone through the process of gathering all required permits.
Siskiyou County Supervisor Ed Valenzuela said he was not inclined to intervene to stop the statue.
“It’s on private property. It’s a private business,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s the holiday season. I have better things to think about than a statue going up on private property,” he said. “
“The people that are against it, their response would be then don’t go to the ski park,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.