White River Ski Conservation Fund issues $675,000 in grants for 2018 projects | SummitDaily.com

White River Ski Conservation Fund issues $675,000 in grants for 2018 projects

Vail Daily staff report

DENVER — This summer, the White River National Forest will be buzzing with activity — and not just from the thousands of visitors enjoying world-class trails, campgrounds and waterways.

Throughout the season, youth conservation corps, local volunteers and nonprofit partners will be working to steward and maintain the health of the White River National Forest. From the obliteration of noxious weeds around Vail to stream enhancements in the Blue River Watershed and trail work at Tenderfoot Mountain, many hands will help care for these beloved public lands.

This important work is made possible because of support from the White River National Forest Ski Conservation Fund, which began 11 years ago as a partnership between the National Forest Foundation and Colorado ski resorts, including Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek, Vail, Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin. The successful partnership has resulted in more than $5 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations for on-the-ground conservation projects in the White River National Forest.

Through the Ski Conservation Fund, patrons of these resorts are able to donate a dollar or more to the National Forest Foundation when purchasing online tickets, season passes or staying at resort lodges. The National Forest Foundation provides a 50-cent match on every dollar donated by guests and invests the pooled funds in the stewardship of the White River National Forest through grants to local nonprofits.

Grant recipients leverage projects further by bringing additional resources, such as volunteers and matching funds, to accomplish even more on-the-ground work. In 2018, this partnership is granting approximately $530,000 to 13 organizations working in the White River National Forest to enhance outdoor experiences and forest health:

• Aspen Center for Environmental Studies: Hunter Creek invasive weed management

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• Colorado Mountain Club: Trail Maintenance

• Eagle River Watershed Council: Turkey Creek Watershed Restoration, Phase II

• Friends of the Dillon Ranger District: Forest recreation and stewardship program

• Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers: 2018 Volunteer Projects

• Rocky Mountain Youth Corps: Youth Leadership to the Pinnacle of Alpine Conservation

• Student Conservation Association: Wilderness ranger/trails interns for the Dillon and Eagle-Holy Cross districts

• Trout Unlimited: Mountain Pride Mine Restoration Project

• Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association: Eagle County Adopt-a-Trail Program

• Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado: White River National Forest volunteer stewardship projects

• Walking Mountains Science Center: Natural resource internship and community conservation program

• Mesa Youth Services Inc.: Gore Creek invasive plant partnership

• Wildland Restoration Volunteers: Masontown Trail Community Restoration Project

The National Forest Foundation is directing an additional $145,000 of the Ski Conservation Fund support to high-priority, strategic investments in the White River National Forest, including treatment of noxious weeds in Eagle and Summit counties over the next three years.

To learn about the current and past White River Ski Conservation Fund awards, visit http://www.nationalforests.org/grant-programs/past-awards.