Brinkman Partners

Summit organizations team up for forest land improvement fund

Date: Dec. 6th, 2008

DAILY NEWS STAFF REPORT
Summit County, Co Colorado


A pair of local organizations have created a lodging-donation fund aimed at supporting forest-stewardship program of the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District.

The Summit Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the Friends group to develop the fund, and three lodging operators have pledged support for the program, which seeks a voluntary $1 contribution from lodging guests for each night’s stay.

ResortQuest has joined Lakepoint Lodging and Brinkman Mountain Real Estate as the first lodging partners of the program, which is aimed at supporting visitor experiences in the local national forest lands.

“ResortQuest is thrilled to join the program. Environmental stewardship is a core value of our organization. Through our participation, we hope to inspire others, including our guests, to adopt and implement stewardship into their own lives,” said Andru Zeiset, general manager of ResortQuest.

The Friends group intends to add supporting businesses such as banks, real estate firms, restaurants and retailers.

“We will help ensure that Summit County remains a top choice for residents and guests to recreate,” said Susan Roberts, a board member with the Friends group.

The program expands on the Ski Conservation Fund, a grant program sponsored by the National Forest Foundation, Copper Mountain Resort, Vail Resorts and each resort’s guests — and includes the Friends as one of its recipients.

“This local collaborative partnership allows us to align our respective organizations’ missions to support our resort community,” Roberts said.

The group’s volunteer efforts include: trail maintenance; fuels reduction; forest restoration; invasive weed pulls; tree clearing; litter pick ups; buck-n-rail fence construction; educating forest users while hiking, hosting trail heads, and at the ranger station; and leadership training.

These efforts improve the quality of our local natural resources and the quality of the recreationists’ experience, provide visitor information, foster public-land stewardship and help address issues threatening our local National Forest lands.

Through these stewardship efforts, volunteers connect to each other and to these lands, leading to their increased investment and stewardship of these lands and of each other, organizers said.

The Friends group, a non-profit organization that started in the spring of 2004, recently hosted its 100th volunteer project and logged its 25,000th volunteer hour.
In the upcoming year, FDRD will celebrate its 5th anniversary and reach the equivalent of $1 million in support of the Dillon Ranger District.

For more information on program participation, contact Guff Van Vooren at fdrd.guff@gmail.com or (970) 389-6058. For more information on the Friends group, visit www.fdrd.org.