ASPEN/SNOWMASS, Colo. (News Release) In honor of Earth Day 2003, Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) and the Aspen Ranger District are unveiling a unique "Tree for a Tree" program on ASC-operated mountains - Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Any tree with a diameter of more than six inches cut down during the course of summer operations will be replaced with a native seedling. Seedlings will be planted to maintain or improve natural resource values on each mountain under Forest Service permit. Trees are cut during necessary on-mountain operations such as creating new trails within the existing permit boundary.
Funding for the program will be shared with the Forest Service through the use of funds made available by the Knutson-Vandenberg Act, which allocates monies to cover a portion of the costs associated with tree planting, seed sowing, and forest improvement work. ASC will share the costs and provide the labor necessary to fully implement the new initiative.
Says Jim Stark, of the Aspen Ranger District: "The Aspen Skiing Company has long recognized the importance of proactively managing the biological and physical environment of each of their mountains under special use permit. While they have in the past implemented such things as native, on-site seed collection and plant propagation programs, the Tree for a Tree Program is another positive effort that fosters a healthy and diverse ecosystem over the long term."
"If we want this business to be around forever we need to go beyond efficiency, waste reduction, and other programs that just make us ?less bad.? We need to become restorative,? says Aspen Skiing Company Mountain Planner Victor Gerdin, who came up with the idea for the program. "Improving and developing trails requires removing some trees, but our goal is to ensure the planet has a net gain of new trees as part of the process.?