Vail Resorts has contributed $1.5 million over the past year to the National Forest Foundation (NFF), the congressionally chartered nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service. Vail Resorts, the NFF, and the White River National Forest (WRNF) are working with advisory groups in Colorado’s Eagle and Summit Counties to set community-based forest stewardship priorities and invest in local projects and programs that will enhance the WRNF.
Vail Resorts, including Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, and Beaver Creek, has been a contributing partner of the NFF’s WRNF Ski Conservation Fund since 2006. Over the past year, Vail Resorts’ contributions have elevated the Fund to a level that will allow more expansive projects and programs to be considered for support and implementation by the Fund.
The Ski Conservation Fund provides an opportunity for guests of participating ski areas and lodges to give back to the public lands that make their experiences possible via a donation program. The NFF matches these contributions a net $.50 to the dollar and oversees the investment of those funds in projects and programs on the WRNF that enhance recreational opportunities and improve forest health.
“Through our reimagined partnership with the National Forest Foundation, we’re able to put generous guest donations to work here in Eagle and Summit Counties—preserving and enhancing the incredible landscapes that make this area so special,” said Beth Howard, VP and COO of Vail Mountain. “The initial projects the local advisory groups have chosen for 2021-22 will create sustainable recreation opportunities for both locals and visitors to enjoy the White River National Forest for a long time to come.”
“We are thrilled to expand the impact of our partnership with Vail Resorts,” said Mary Mitsos, NFF President and CEO. “Vail Resorts’ participation in this program allows their users and guests to give back to the local community, resulting in tangible on-the-ground improvements to National Forests that provide numerous benefits to the ecology and economy of the region.”
To showcase the enhanced opportunities made possible by the re-envisioned Fund, Vail Resorts selected a suite of WRNF priority projects for immediate funding that are currently underway. The new approach to the Fund includes expanded capabilities for implementation, including engaging nonprofit partners as well as area contractors to get work done on-the-ground in an efficient manner while continuing to provide capacity support to local organizations.
Strategic projects on the WRNF supported by Vail Resorts in 2021-22 include:
- Meadow Mountain Trail reroutes: a multi-use trail improvement and sustainability project near Minturn
- Arctic-Placer Trail construction: a new, sustainable, multi-use trail connecting the town of Silverthorne with the Eagles Nest wilderness
- Dillon Reservoir Bear Box installation: campground infrastructure improvements to address wildlife concerns and decrease negative human-wildlife interactions
- Mill Creek Trail construction: a new trail coming to Vail in 2022 intended to add capacity to the area’s heavily used trail system
Additional projects recommended for funding via the community stewardship priorities set by the Ski Conservation Fund advisory committees in Eagle and Summit Counties will be announced in late 2021.
To learn more about the re-envisioned WRNF Ski Conservation Fund visit: nationalforests.org/whiteriverscf