One Percent for the Forest
The next time you visit Breckenridge, open up a trail map and see if you can spot the U.S. Forest Service logo. You might not have given it much attention before, but it’s there because Breckenridge Ski Resort is actually located on national forest land – the White River National Forest, to be precise. This forest covers 2.3 million acres in Colorado and is home to 12 ski resorts. In fact, it’s the most visited national forest in the United States. And if you love the sweeping vistas and tree covered mountains as much as we locals do, you can support the forest by participating in Breck’s One Percent for the Forest program.
Have you ever purchased a lift ticket or stayed at a lodge and been asked if you’d like to donate a few dollars to the National Forest Foundation? Created by Congress in 1991, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) is the non-profit partner for the U.S. Forest Service. The organization exists to protect our National Forests and encourage Americans to get outside and enjoy them! When you visit any of one of the Vail Resorts – including Breck – and donate your dollars to One Percent for the Forest, you’re making a contribution to the NFF’s Ski Conservation Fund. These donations are matched 50% by the NFF, which uses the money to support conservation projects in participating ski areas’ local National Forests.
What has been the impact of the partnership between Vail Resorts and the Ski Conservation Fund? Since 2006, together these organizations have raised $3 million for 58 different projects involving trail conservation and restoration, wildlife habitat restoration, wildfire mitigation, stream restoration, reforestation, and invasive species removal. Some of the money is also designated for local non-profit environmental organizations. In Summit County, both the Blue River Watershed Group and Friends of the Dillon Ranger District have received money from the Ski Conservation Fund. Recently, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District used the grant money it received to hire a crew from the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps to restore the McCullough Trail, a very popular hiking trail just a few miles south of Breckenridge.
One of the reasons I love skiing so much is because you can’t help but appreciate the magnificence of our high mountain environment when you’re on the slopes taking in the expansive views all around. Skiing and riding are great ways to connect with nature, and participating in Breckenridge Ski Resort’s One Percent for the Forest program is an easy way you can demonstrate your appreciation and support for this natural playground and all 193 million acres of national forest we are so fortunate to have in our country.
Want to read more about the National Forest Foundation and its mission? Check out the organization’s website where you can find out more ways you can support our country’s protected forests and grasslands. You can also find a list of ski resorts that partner with the Ski Conservation Fund.
– Jess Hoover