National Forest Foundation

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NFF Celebrates 10 Years of Making a Difference on the White River National Forest


The White River National Forest Ski Conservation Fund celebrates 10 years of partnership with $13.8 million in on-the-ground conservation since 2007.

Since the National Forest Foundation’s Ski Conservation Fund began ten years ago, contributions from patrons of Vail Resort’s Colorado mountains – Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek, and Vail – along with Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin have resulted in over $4.5 million in grants to local non-profit organizations for on-the-ground conservation projects on 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 their 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. With the additional value of these resources, the Ski Conservation Fund has resulted in nearly $13.8 million in on-the-ground conservation since 2007.

Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

Over ten years, the Ski Conservation Fund has invested in 132 projects on the White River National Forest. These projects have employed over 7,000 youth, over 22,000 volunteers, and led to tangible on-the-ground results, including 1,557 miles of improved or maintained trails; 357 miles of restored streams; 31,081 trees planted; 180 acres of fuel reduction; 206 campsites maintained, and; 112 acres of wetland or riparian area restored. 

In 2017, this partnership is granting more than $600,000 to twelve organizations working on the White River National Forest to enhance outdoor experiences and forest health. 

Additionally, in partnership with Vail Resorts, the National Forest Foundation will invest $100,000 dollars in strategic stewardship projects in the Upper Swan River watershed. This year  marks the third year of this targeted, strategic investment of Ski Conservation Fund dollars which has improved habitat conditions for fish and wildlife along each of the three forks of the Swan River (North, Middle, and South Forks) near Breckenridge.

Together with Vail Resorts, the National Forest Foundation will also invest nearly $45,000 to support conservation of Colorado’s beloved Fourteeners.

The full list of 2017 projects includes:

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative 
- Conservation of Colorado Fourteeners

Colorado Mountain Club
 - White River National Forest Blanco District Trail Maintenance and Inventory

Eagle River Watershed Council
 - Turkey Creek Watershed Restoration Project

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District
 - 2017 Forest Recreation & Stewardship Projects
 - Upper, Middle, and South Forks of Swan River Restoration and Habitat Enhancement
 
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers
 - 2017 Volunteer Projects

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps – Colorado
 - Uniting Youth in Conservation Partnerships

Student Conservation Association
 - Wilderness Ranger/Trails and Recreation Interns for White River National Forest

Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association
 - Eagle County Adopt a Trail Implementation

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
 - Quandary Peak Trail and Resource Restoration 

Walking Mountains Science Center
 - Natural Resource Internship and Community Conservation Program

Wilderness Workshop
 - Habitat Restoration Program

Wildlands Restoration Volunteers
 - Swan Drainage Campsite Restoration Project

“It’s truly inspiring the impact one dollar multiplied by thousands of guests each year can have for our public lands. The Ski Conservation Fund and our partnership with the National Forest Foundation has restored trails and habitat and protected the forest that is loved by our guests, our employees and everyone in our communities. A program that brings together so many to do this work is incredibly powerful,” said Beth Ganz, Vice President of Public Affairs and Sustainability for Vail Resorts.

“The National Forest Foundation is proud of our long partnership with Vail Resorts, Copper Mountain, and Arapahoe Basin. Their support has allowed us to have a real impact on the White River National Forest. We are grateful to their many guests who have made critical conservation and restoration work possible over the years,”

Mary Mitsos, NFF President

“The ten years of this partnership with NFF and our ski industry has been invaluable in providing a connection with the public and restoring the ecological function of key public lands. We look forward to expanding the impact of these programs to provide excellent service to the public on the White River National Forest and sustaining these public lands for future generations,” said Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor of the White River National Forest.

Click here to learn about the 2017 award recipients and upcoming projects.