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Wildlife Habitat Preservation

Scenic winter mountain views of Beaver Creek

Conservation Projects

Throughout the 2006-2007 winter season, Vail Resorts will offer guests at each of the five mountain resorts the opportunity to participate in a special fundraising effort by contributing $1 on season passes, $1 on online lift ticket transactions, and $1 per room night at its Colorado-based lodging properties. Each dollar raised by Vail Resorts will be matched with 50 cents by the National Forest Foundation. Vail Resorts and the National Forest Foundation expect to raise up to $600,000 (including the matching funds), three to four times more than the National Forest Foundation’s next largest fundraising program of this kind.

Proceeds collected by Vail Resorts will be donated to the National Forest Foundation to fund conservation projects in the two forest areas, which total more than 2.3 million acres. The voluntary $1 contribution will be added to the total amount of a season pass, each online lift ticket transaction or lodging night rate and will be explained to guests prior to their purchase. The National Forest Foundation will administer a process to determine which conservation projects and nonprofit organizations are selected to receive funding. The funds will be used to implement on-the-ground conservation projects in recreation, wildlife habitat improvement and stream restoration. “The national forests offer a spectacular setting for our five mountain resorts, where millions of people of all ages come each year to recreate together. This program with the National Forest Foundation allows us to partner with our guests to further protect, enhance and improve upon these great natural treasures so they may continue to provide memorable experience to those who enjoy recreating in them,” said Rob Katz, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

In April 2007, our company donated $225,815 to seven non-profit organizations for conservation projects in Colorado's White River National Forest. The following organizations and projects were selected by the National Forest Foundation to receive funding:

    • Wilderness Volunteers, Gore Range Trail and Maroon-Snowmass Trail Wilderness Service Trips
    • Friends of the Eagle Nest Wilderness, Wilderness Ecosystem Improvement Project
    • Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV), RFOV 2007 Trail Projects
    • Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), 2007 VOC Summit County Projects
    • Eagle County Youth Conservation Corps, Eagle County Youth Conservation Corps-Project Season 2007
    • Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, 2007 White River Fourteeners Project
    • Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Youth Corps Conservation Project

The National Forest Foundation is a nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service. The National Forest Foundation helps the Forest Service improve the health of the 192-million-acre national forest system, and takes action to bring about solutions.

Beaver Creek Resort Road Maintenance

From its inception, Beaver Creek has been committed to fish and wildlife habitat. In keeping with the effort, the resort’s road maintenance crews continue to review and modify practices to maintain water quality.

Approximately 20 years ago, management decided upon the use of granite chips to replace lava cinders commonly used for road traction. The department made great strides in limiting the sediment fines that reach area waterways. To further this commitment, Beaver Creek established a program to further reduce sediment released to our waterways. During 2001, Beaver Creek distributed over 1500 tons of granite chips on the resorts roadways, and, in turn, collected and recycled over 70 % of all chips, thus improving sedimentation in the surrounding streams.

In addition, resort officials implemented a sedimentation basin cleaning program to further reduce effects on our watershed.

Beaver Creek Resort Soil Disturbance Regulation Enforcement

Beaver Creek Resort’s commitment to water quality during all soil disturbance projects is strictly enforced. Contractors are required to meet with the design review board and private security staff, prior to construction, for approval on the required standards. Fines are levied for any noncompliance.

Beaver Creek Snow Making Reservoir

Beaver Creek Resort constructed a reservoir near the top of the mountain that holds 127 acre-feet, or approximately 41,000,000 gallons, of water. This reservoir is filled in the spring by snowmelt and runoff and is stored until the beginning of the following winter to be used for snowmaking. The benefit of using water from the reservoir is that it reduces the amount of water diverted from streams during sensitive times of the year. When consistent flows are maintained, fish and aquatic habitat are better off.

Mountain, Highway and Eagle River Clean Up

Each spring, Vail Resorts Inc presents the largest annual highway and road clean up day in the state of Colorado in conjunction with the Eagle River Watershed Council, a local non-profit conservation organization. With the support of over 900 volunteers, local businesses and the Colorado Department of Transportation, 90 miles of highway in Eagle Valley are cleaned of litter. In 2005, the volunteer group collected and disposed of 89,300 pounds of litter during the three-hour event. Each summer, Beaver Creek employees hit the slopes to clean up any trash left over from the winter. In the fall employees spend time on the Eagle River cleaning up and removing any debris both in and on the banks of the valley’s main waterway.

Elk Closures

Each year, the resort’s operating dates and posted closures reflect sensitivity to wildlife. In conjunction with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, sensitive areas remain closed from May 6th through June 31st for elk calving season.

Trail Design and Construction

Trails were designed on Beaver Creek Mountain with fish and wildlife habitat in mind. Many of the trails are studded with tree islands that offer protection to both small and large mammals as they cross the open runs. Trails are re-vegetated with native grasses after any disturbance to reduce soil erosion and waterbars are placed periodically to slow down spring runoff.

Bird Habitat

In fairness to the resort’s winged population, Beaver Creek adopted two programs specifically targeted toward birds, though many of the area’s small critters have benefited, as well. Beaver Creek established a program that left naturally dead, non-infested trees, or snags, standing upon the mountain. These snags were subsequently utilized by the resort’s feathered population as ideal nesting and perching locations. This program addressed both the disruptive need for extraction methods and demonstrated a sensitivity to the resort’s resident wildlife (small critters loved the idea, too).

In addition to these natural perching and nesting facilities, the resort went a step further. During the spring of 1999, Beaver Creek Resort, with much assistance from Eagle County Boy Scout troops and Forest Service representatives, built 50 nesting boxes designed specifically for the Native Mountain Bluebird. Resort environmentalists identified studies showing that Native Mountain Bluebird populations had been decreasing in Colorado due to logging of forests, and competing cavity nesters (Tree Swallows and Violet-Green Swallows). Upon completion these boxes were placed on Beaver Creek Mountain in habitat favorable to the bluebird. Each spring, the boxes are cleaned and maintained, and checked for use. Should any of the boxes remain unused during an entire season, they are relocated to a more favorable spot on the mountain.

Beaver Creek Golf Course

Beaver Creek Golf Course became a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. This is something that only 4 % of the golf courses in the US achieved at the time of our joining. The golf course received this certification by filling the requirements with the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. We try to promote environmental stewardship and practice golf maintenance as environmentally sound as possible.

Beaver Creek Golf Course also received a Certificate of Achievement for Wildlife and Habitat Management. The golf course received this certification because of our efforts to preserve our wildlife. The golf course installed signs to educate guest on wildlife. They also encourage guests to enjoy wildlife on the golf course from a distance and have fox crossing signs. Because of our habitat protection, guest can enjoy waterfowl nesting area on 12 and 18 pond.

Aiding the Experts

Our company annually supports the local chapters of Ducks Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Mule Deer Foundation to protect the habitat of our region's native animals and plants. In funding these outstanding organizations, wetlands, forests and other wildlife areas are restored, managed and protected.

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