Editorial Board, May 2008 to August 2008
- Bryna Larsen, publisher
- Brent Boyer, editor
- Mike Lawrence, city editor
- Tom Ross, reporter
- Eric Morris, community representative
- Paul Draper, community representative
Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or email@example.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.
Steamboat Springs It's hard not to notice the increasing attention U.S. businesses, political candidates and others are placing on environmental issues, products and jobs. While time will tell whether many of those efforts are fueled by legitimate concern for our natural resources or just a desire to cash in on a perceived niche in the marketplace, we're encouraged by local efforts toward sustainability and environmental stewardship.
Take, for instance, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's Sustainable Business Program. In a business story in this issue of the Pilot & Today, the Chamber reports that 34 businesses enrolled in the program in its first year; the goal was 25. For a fee ranging from $50 to $500 for Chamber members, interested businesses receive coaching from Lyn Halliday of Environmental Solutions Unlimited. Halliday works with the businesses to reduce their energy use, water use and waste. Among the first-year enrollees are restaurants, retailers, lodging properties and more.
Businesses that meet their sustainability goals are designated by certification level: green, bronze, silver or gold. Companies like gold-certified Black Tie Ski Rentals employ measures such as energy-saving compact fluorescent lighting, carbon credits to offset vehicle emissions and rewards for employees who use alternative transportation.
The Chamber's program isn't the only one worth noting.
- The city of Steamboat Springs is tackling a number of green initiatives, including a joint venture with Routt County to examine whether to adopt energy efficient building codes. The new Steamboat Springs Community Center will be the county's first LEED-certified building, meaning it meets stringent guidelines for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, building materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
- The Marabou ranch preservation subdivision is carbon-neutral and recently was named the Chamber's Sustainable Business of the Year.
- Longtime Routt County homebuilder Mike Roberts of Habitat Construction has been using green building practices locally since the early 1990s.
- Local schools, including Strawberry Park Elementary School in Steamboat and Soroco Middle School in Oak Creek, have started green teams to lead school-wide recycling efforts and promote other sustainable activities such as bike and ski to school days.
- Steamboat-based outdoor gear and apparel companies BAP and Big Agnes have started a Re-Routt Collection of gear produced with recycled materials. The companies also purchase wind energy for their buildings and reward employees who participate in their commuter program.
- Just last week, Yampa Valley Recycles launched a reusable shopping bag program in Routt County to help reduce the 380 billion bags, sacks and wraps consumed each year in this country. Yampa Valley Recycles purchased 5,000 polypropylene bags, which are available for $1 each and can hold more than three times the amount of a single plastic grocery bag. Anyone interested in purchasing bags can call 870-7575.
- The Mount Werner Water District recently started a Conservation Recognition and Certification Program to encourage residential and business properties to reduce water usage. Almost 700 residential units are part of the relatively young program.
- The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, according to its mission statement, is working to provide leadership to advance environmental, economic, and social sustainability through education and collaboration among individuals, organizations, businesses and government.
We don't have enough space to mention all the local efforts toward conservation and sustainability, but we're comfortable stating our community is adopting an appropriate commitment to environmental consciousness. We are a resort-driven economy, kept alive by the ability of our spectacular natural resources to attract visitors to Northwest Colorado year-round, be it for bottomless snow on Mount Werner or world-class kayaking and fishing on the Yampa and Elk rivers.
Local businesses and residents are proving there is both the desire and the demand to change the way we interact with our environment. We salute those efforts, and encourage their continued growth.