Breckenridge kicks off sustainable future |

Breckenridge kicks off sustainable future

BRECKENRIDGE – More than 100 people gathered inside a Breckenridge conference room Monday night, forgoing solstice sunshine for a discussion on the future of the town’s environment, economy and community.

Issues like forest health, climate change, housing, business and transportation drove the first session in a summer-long conversation about the legacy today’s Breck residents wish to pass on to future generations. The town has dubbed the initiative “Sustainable Breck.”

“It’s about identifying what do we, as the community, want Breckenridge to look like in 10, 20 and even 30 years,” Mayor John Warner said. “The town’s task force has identified a variety of issues, and now we want the community to give us input.”

Sustainable Breck will build off the existing Breckenridge Vision Plan, various projections on future growth, and the work of the town’s Sustainability Taskforce.

“I think it’s really important, and that’s why I’m here,” said Breckenridge resident Trevor Harrison, 22. “Energy use, resources, water – it’s all tied together.”

Auden Schendler, Aspen Skiing Company’s executive director of sustainability, kicked off the meeting with a presentation on climate change.

“Climate change changed the conversation about who you are and what you’re job is – it has redefined everything,” Schendler said. “If you don’t solve climate, you don’t solve anything.”

Attendees at the meeting appeared to agree, ranking energy use and the local economy as their top two sustainability issues during an audience poll.

Breckenridge Community Development staff presented a variety of looming challenges for which the community will need to plan, including shorter ski seasons, increased traffic gridlock, the squeezing out of service businesses, continued reliance on fossil fuels, persisting wildfire danger and the inability of sales tax revenue to keep pace with the demand for government services.

During the next two months, the town will hold three workshops, during which it will solicit input from residents on 10 topics: child care, energy, housing, forest health, open space and recreation, economy, wildlife habitat, land use, water and transportation.

Town officials will compile the input, identify priorities and report back to the community and the town council during a wrap-up meeting in September.

“The town council is going to take a hard look at how we can implement these things,” said Mark Truckey, assistant director of community development. “It’s an action plan, and we’re going to move forward once we’ve heard from the community on which of these things are most pressing.”

SDN reporter Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or

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