Summit skier donations fund White River forest projects |

Summit skier donations fund White River forest projects

Breeana Laughlin
Special to the daily/Dillon Ranger District

Contributions from guests at local ski areas will provide more than $600,000 in funds for projects in the White River National Forest.

The National Forest Foundation’s Ski Conservation Fund is supported by guest donations at Copper Mountain Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and all of Vail Resorts’ Colorado mountains. Guests at these parks can opt to donate $1 or $2 to the National Forest Fund when they buy ski passes or stay at ski resort lodges.

“We accomplish a lot of our work with our nonprofit partners through these funds,” said Cindy Ebbert, Dillon Ranger District wilderness, trails and dispersed recreation manager.

Some of the Summit County organizations getting ski conservation funds include the Blue River Watershed Group, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Colorado Mountain Club, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Friends of the Eagle Nest Wilderness, Rocky Mountain Youth Corp, Student Conservation Association and Wildland Restoration Volunteers.

“By investing in these on-the-ground conservation efforts, we are helping ensure the health of forests and watersheds persists over time.” — Marcus Selig, the National Forest Foundation’s Colorado program director

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“Our partners apply for the funding, and we work closely with them on a variety of restoration, recreation and trail projects throughout Summit County,” Ebbert said.

The Blue River Watershed Group will work to restore the stream and floodplain and re-vegetate areas of Ten Mile Creek near Copper Mountain.

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative will fund trail projects, campsite restoration and hiker education.

The Colorado Mountain Club will look to engage more young people in environmental education and to restore local waterways.

Friends of Dillon Ranger District is using its funding to work on stewardship projects, including getting rid of invasive weeds, managing erosion and reducing potential fire hazards, among other projects related to local wildlife health.

Friends of the Eagle Nest Wilderness are funding noxious-weed treatments in wilderness areas in Summit and Eagle counties.

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps is funding a crew to clear trails in areas with large numbers of beetle-kill trees in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. The Student Conservation Association will be hiring interns to work with a U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger, and Wildland Restoration Volunteers will be ramping up its volunteer opportunities and working to restore alpine terrain damaged by off-trail motorized vehicles at Webster Pass.

A handful of other organizations in the Holy Cross and Eagle ranger districts also will be receiving ski-conservation funding.

“By investing in these on-the-ground conservation efforts, we are helping ensure the health of forests and watersheds persists over time,” said Marcus Selig, the National Forest Foundation’s Colorado program director in a news release.

The NFF established its Ski Conservation fund in Colorado in 2007. Since then, they’ve invested more than $3 million in the White River National Forest. These funds have supported 18 community-based organizations that have completed more than 50 stewardship projects.

The White River National Forest is one of the top recreational forests in the nation.

“Our forest is a world-class destination for international visitors,” White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said. “Without this help we wouldn’t be able to maintain the essential services people have come to expect when they experience what our forest has to offer.”

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