It has been a dozen or more years since the analyses published in the first edition of The Economics of Natural Environments were completed. These studies were undertaken because they involved major public policy decisions. Indeed, most of the cases were argued before the Supreme Court at one stage or another in their resolution and all involved acts of government at the highest level by both the legislative and executive branches. With such a collection of cases, it seems only appropriate that this volume should carry an afterword concerning the outcomes to which these analyses contributed.
The prospective development of Mineral King Valley for high- density, all-season recreation was the object of controversy that took a dozen years to resolve. During this time, the Sierra Club case against the development eventually reached the Supreme Court. The prospective development originated as long ago as 1949 when the Forest Service issued a development prospectus for winter sports. The prospectus did not receive an enthusiastic response. One developer withdrew after appraising the access costs. Although there was a desultory effort by the Forest Service to promote winter recreation facilities for Mineral King Valley thereafter, nothing significant happened until 1965. In that year there were a number of major developments.
The first of these was when the Forest Service requested proposals from prospective developers. The second was the award of a permit allowing Walt Disney Productions to develop the Mineral King Valley for a year- round recreational facility. The third was the signing of a bill by Governor (Pat) Brown of California that authorized a road to Mineral King Valley as part of the state highway system. The fourth was the opposition to this development by the Sierra Club. This opposition was maintained through the courts until it reached the Supreme Court for a ruling. The Supreme Court ruled in April of 1972 that the Sierra Club did not have standing to bring a class action suit, but did not rule on the merits of the club's case.