Aspen Skiing Co. employees award $92,000 to environmental causes | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Skiing Co. employees award $92,000 to environmental causes

Staff report

A planning effort designed to determine how to limit and manage the number of people visiting Conundrum Hot Springs and the Four Pass Loop received a $10,000 assist from the Aspen Skiing Co.'s employees' Environment Foundation.

The foundation awarded the grant to the White River National Forest for its Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness High Use Initiative. The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District wants to implement a permit system to the wilderness hot spots because it says they are suffering environmental degradation from all of the visits.

"Over the past nine years the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area has seen radically increasing visitation levels that are no longer sustainable for the fragile alpine environments," the Environment Foundation said in a news release. The $10,000 will help plan how to limit the damage.

The foundation awarded $91,915 to 15 organizations or causes in its fall 2015 grant cycle. The largest grants were for $10,000, for the wilderness initiative and to Conservation Colorado Education Fund to increase Colorado's renewable energy standards.

"Grants to improve the health of the Roaring Fork River, support communities opposed to inappropriate oil and gas development, cultivate future environmental stewards, and ensure popular hiking and biking trails remain in sound condition were also funded," the foundation said.

The foundation has awarded $2.8 million in grants to 469 projects since it was started. Donations by Skico employees are matched in whole or in part by Aspen Community Foundation and the Aspen Skiing Co. Family Fund.

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Applications for spring 2016 grants are due March 1. Those interested in receiving an application can email Matthew Hamilton at mhamilton@aspensnowmass.com.

ENVIRONMENT FOUNDATION GRANTS

Environment Foundation grants, fall 2015

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, $7,500 for environmental education.

Aspen TREE, $5,407, Earth Keepers Community Day Camp.

Citizens for a Healthy Community, $7,500, oil and gas government accountability program.

Colorado Outward Bound School, $8,000, Marble Basecamp.

Colorado Water Trust, $4,000, restoring the Roaring Fork River.

Conservation Colorado Education Fund, $10,000, increasing Colorado’s renewable energy standard.

Energetics Education, soar rollers program.

Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center, $5,000, build political support for implementation and defense of the Clean Power Plan.

Independence Pass Foundation, $1,408, middle school tree planting program.

Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation, $4,000, generation operating fund.

Red Hill Council, $3,600, 2015 Blue Ribbon Trail reroute project.

Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, $4,500, Trail Agent Program.

Snowmass Discovery Inc., $6,000, Colorado’s Legacy Fossil Discovery as a platform for climate change education.

White River National Forest, $10,000, Maroon Bells-Snowmass High Use Initiative.

Wilderness Workshop, $7,500, Forest Watchdog program.

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