Ski Conservation Fund has doled out $4 million over 10 years | SummitDaily.com

Ski Conservation Fund has doled out $4 million over 10 years

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

The 2016 Ski Conservation Fund grants are supporting the work of eight different stewardship organizations. By making a donation on top of a room night or lift ticket, guests at these resorts have contributed nearly $2.7 million to the fund since 2006.

This spring, the National Forest Foundation has awarded more than $400,000 to eight different local nonprofit stewardship organizations to support projects on the White River National Forest.

For the 10th year in a row, these investments were made possible by skiers and visitors at the National Forest Foundation's partner ski resorts — Arapahoe Basin, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone and Vail. By making a donation on top of a room night or lift ticket, guests at these resorts have contributed nearly $2.7 million to the fund since 2006.

"If you skied at one of these resorts this past winter and contributed to National Forest Foundation's Ski Conservation Fund, you not only got out and played on your national forests, but you also supported their stewardship and enhancement," said Marcus Selig, National Forest Foundation Southern Rockies Region director.

Variety of Projects

The National Forest Foundation provides a 50-cent match on all guest donations and grants the funds to community organizations working to steward the White River National Forest, which further leverage the monies with in-kind, volunteer and cash matches. Since 2006, the foundation has granted more than $4 million to local organizations, supporting 120 projects. Including both monetary match and in-kind contributions from the Forest Service and grantees, these projects have resulted in nearly $14 million in on-the-ground conservation value.

This year's Ski Conservation Fund projects will support trail and recreation infrastructure improvements, enhance wildlife habitat, restore streams and wetlands, protect native wildlife species and reduce noxious weeds on the nation's most visited national forest. The fund's grants are supporting the work of eight different stewardship organizations — Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Eagle River Watershed Council, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Student Conservation Association, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and Walking Mountains Science Center.

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"We're pretty fortunate, on the White River, to have such great partners that are doing great work," Selig said. "Without the support of our local nonprofits, the forest, and the trails and infrastructure would be in not great shape because the agency can't do it on it's own. The budget on the White River is tight and stretched to capacity, and so we're very dependent on our local nonprofits to get that work done that needs to be done."

Ski Conservation Fund project results since 2006

· 18,162 volunteers engaged in nearly 190,000 hours of work

· 5,788 youth employed or engaged

· 3,073 acres of wildlife habitat and 102 acres of wetland or riparian areas restored or maintained

· 1,386 miles of trail improved, repaired or maintained

· 186 campsites maintained

· 208 acres of recreation damage restored

· 2,047 acres for invasive species treated

· 339 miles of stream restored