VAIL --Vail Resorts has joined two government agencies in a project meant to help restore forest that was devastated by Colorado's largest-ever wildfire in 2002.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Monday announced that Vail Resorts, The National Forest Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service on Monday announced will work together on a project called "Treasured Landscapes: The Hayman Restoration Partnership - Working Together for Healthy Forests and Clean Water."
The project is meant to revitalize the forest and protect water quality in the area of the Pike National Forest where the 137,760-acre Hayman Fire burned about 70 miles southwest of Denver.
The fire destroyed 600 structures, obliterated forest vegetation and wildlife habitat for threatened species, damaged recreation sites, trails and roads. Set to begin in fall of 2009, The Hayman Restoration Partnership is estimated to be a $4-million effort, with Vail Resorts serving as the private funding catalyst for the work. The Hayman Restoration Partnership is one of several initiated under the National Forest Foundation's Treasured Landscapes forest and watershed restoration campaign.
The total project area for the Hayman Restoration Partnership is over 115,000 thousand acres, with the majority of the work honing in on 45,000 acres of the most severely affected areas.
"The health and prosperity of our country relies on the health of our nation's forests. The threats facing our forests require us to change the way we view and manage America's forestlands, not just for our generation but for future generations," said Vilsack.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz also announced Monday that the ski company will no longer buy wind credits to offset energy use at its mountains. The company had been buying wind credits since 2006.
"Going forward, we intend to channel our efforts on more comprehensive projects, which help protect the climate and also offer habitat and watershed benefits to local communities, such as the Hayman Restoration Project," Katz said.
For more information about the project: "Treasured Landscapes: The Hayman Restoration Partnership - Working Together for Healthy Forests and Clean Water," visit http://sites.google.com/site/treasuredlandscapes/.