Can resort guests can spare a dollar?
SUMMIT COUNTY ” A new partnership between Copper Mountain Resort, the U.S. Forest Service and the nonprofit National Forest Foundation could raise up to $75,000 per year for local conservation projects on the White River National Forest.
The program will launch Nov. 3, Copper’s opening day, and will raise money by soliciting voluntary $1 per night donations from resort guests. The money generated by the resort will be matched with a 50 percent grant through the National Forest Foundation.
A similar program in Aspen raises money for the Roaring Fork Conservancy, and the National Forest Foundation also works with Timberline Resort in Oregon and Snowbird, in Utah.
The Snowbird program started last winter and raised $10,000 to $15,000 per month during the peak season, said National Forest Foundation president Bill Possiel. The National Forest Foundation is also discussing the program with Vail Resorts, he added.
“We were surprised at how few people opted out of the program at Snowbird,” Possiel said, explaining that resort guests seem to be happy to help fund the preservation of the public lands on which they’re skiing and snowboarding.
“When you think about it, $1 is not that much, but cumulatively, it can really add up,” he said.
“It’s one of the first of it’s kind at this level,” said White River National Forest spokesperson Sally Spaulding.
The money will be spent based on priorities that the forest is setting, and will stay in Summit County for work within the Dillon Ranger District, Spaulding said.
Once the money goes to the Forest Service via the National Forest Foundation, the projects are selected based on local needs and other factors, Possiel explained.
“What we are looking for are projects with measurable outcomes and projects that get people involved in stewardship efforts,” he said.
The National Forest Foundation will work with local nonprofit organizations to complete the conservation projects. Recreation, wildlife and stream restoration projects are among those likley to be funded.
“The fact that these funds will be spent on conservation projects not only in the White River National Forest, but right here in Summit County, is a true benefit for everyone who enjoys our public lands,” Copper Mountain General Manager Gary Rodgers said. “We believe our guests share our commitment to improve and enhance our environment.”
Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado
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