Forest funds doled out |

Forest funds doled out

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY ” A slew of forest trail, including some sorely needed work on the Ptarmigan Peaks trail, will move up on the list of Forest Service projects this summer, thanks to a $226,000 infusion of cash from Vail Resorts and the National Forest Foundation.

The money was generated by the first phase of a voluntary guest contribution service launched at VR’s Summit and Eagle County ski resorts this season. Guests had the option of donating $1 on every lift ticket and season pass transaction, as well as for each night spent in a resort room, matched by a contribution from the National Forest Foundation.

The money goes straight to local nonprofit groups, including Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative and Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado.

“This will have a tremendous impact on our backlog of trail maintenance,” said Ken Waugh, the recreation staff officer for the Dillon Ranger District. “It’s stuff we would get done eventually with volunteers, but this will help get some of the most important work done sooner,” Waugh said.

Among other things, the money will fund an extended stay for a Rocky Mountain Youth Corps trail crew, as well as an ecosystem protection project for the Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness.

“We view the success of our program as an indication of the level of commitment our guests have to protecting the spectacular National Forests where we operate our resorts,” said Rob Katz, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “We want to offer them our sincerest thanks for helping in this critical effort.”

“We are thrilled about the positive impact of this partnership and these projects on the National Forest,” said Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Rick Cables. “We have had a long-standing and positive relationship with the ski industry in Colorado, and Vail’s willingness to partner with us and the National Forest Foundation is another innovative step,” Cables said.

The projects were chosen by a board including representatives from Vail Resorts, the National Forest Foundation and the Forest Service, represented by Dillon District Ranger Rick Newton. Action-oriented, collaborative projects that addressed conservation issues on the White River National Forest, such as wildlife habitat improvement, recreation and stream restoration, were given priority.

Other proposal criteria included a description of how each project will improve the condition of the forest in a measurable, hands-on way as well as a measure of the involvement and benefits to surrounding communities.

” Wilderness Volunteers, Gore Range Trail and Maroon-Snowmass Trail Wilderness Service Trips

” Friends of the Eagle Nest Wilderness, Wilderness Ecosystem Improvement Project

” Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV), RFOV 2007 Trail Projects

” Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), 2007 VOC Summit County Projects

” Eagle County Youth Conservation Corps, Eagle County Youth Conservation Corps-Project Season 2007

” Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, 2007 White River Fourteeners Project

” Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Youth Corps Conservation Project

Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at

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