A “Green” Program Embracing the
National Ski Association Environmental Charter
Mt. Ashland received a $5,000 grant from the National Ski Area's Association in May of 2013 to complete 20 watershed restoration projects in four different stream drainages. To read more about this effort... click here. Please keep in mind this is a living document and modifications may occur upon on-site inspection.
"In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."
-from the Great Law of the Haudenosaunee
(Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy)
The pioneers of Mt. Ashland Ski Area were drawn to the mountain out of love for the outdoors. This passion for the outdoor lifestyle helped inspire a generation to become more thoughtful about human impacts and the relationship we have withour environment. Today, the majority of citizens are more concerned about the environment than they were decades ago. In a world where human impacts are quickly depleting valuable resources, citizens are recognizing that taking actions to support healthy lifestyles and sustainable environment are paramount to future generations.
While striving to avoid and mitigate human impacts at Mt. Ashland, we understand some impacts of a ski area are unavoidable. In learning and acknowledging those tradeoffs, our leaders, employees, and guests gain a greater respect for the environment. For this reason, Mt. Ashland will continue to provide and improve environmental awareness and education for our employees, our guests, and our visiting school children. Our Youth Summer Service Program serves as an outstanding example of how the mountain can be used as an educational tool.
Many of the practices, attitudes, and human impacts over the last century have been problematic in terms of protecting and sustaining the environment. A major focal point of the solution is adopting, practicing and living in awareness of the sensitive environment that surrounds us. As an organization, we have adopted the following vision statement, mission statement and values in our quest to be responsible, proactive stewards of the land.
Environmental Vision Statement
Our vision is that every guest could produce a net environmental benefit by visiting Mt. Ashland instead of traveling to another ski area. Mt. Ashland will have a reputation for studying every feasible option for improving the use of natural resources, minimizing negative impacts, and providing the best alpine education experiences available. In this vision, employees and guests alike will make an extra effort to protect future generations. The organization will be known for its honesty, integrity, and protection of environmental and cultural values.
Environmental Mission Statement
To demonstrate Mt. Ashland’s commitment to environmental protection and stewardship through practice and education.
Core Environmental Values for Mt. Ashland Association:
1. The respect and sense of place humans gain from their time in the alpine environment.
2. The physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of ourselves and our community.
3. Recognition and minimization of negative human impacts on the ecosystems connected to Mt. Ashland.
4. Minimization of the ecological footprint of Mt. Ashland through a net reduction in the amount of energy and other resources expended per guest/per visit.
5. Reducing energy expenditure and greenhouse emissions by purchasing locally produced products and services.
6. Reducing the amount of pollution released into our environment.
While we often aspire to be everything and do everything, Mt Ashland sometimes has to make compromises in order to maintain all of our environmental values. Compromises are made only after evaluating the available options and the associated outcomes. We must be ourselves; a local non-profit ski area staying in business to support the health and education of human beings while minimizing environmental impacts. We believe that sustaining the Mt. Ashland Ski Area is a worthwhile cause.
What Kind of Environmentalism Should We Practice?
We can wonder what it means to be an environmentalist. The dictionary describes an environmentalist to be “one concerned about environmental quality especially of the human environment with respect to the control of pollution.” Many other meanings are often associated with being an environmentalist, but the phrase “one who practices sustainability” is appropriate in describing what we at Mt. Ashland strive to accomplish. Sustainability and environmentalism are inseparable. These concepts motivate us to think about our role in the ecosystem and to minimize our impacts while moving forward in an environmentally conscious manner.
Environmental Stewardship Does Require Extra Effort
Mt. Ashland is one of a few community-owned ski areas in the country. While our vision, mission, and values support an environmental ethic, guests and employees ultimately are the people who own Mt. Ashland Association and have the power to support environmental responsibility. Many investments and ongoing improvements are needed, and as a non-profit, Mt. Ashland’s principal investors are our guests. The returns the “investors” receive are the quality and benefits of the services Mt. Ashland provides.
For the reasons listed above, individuals also have responsibility to support environmentally sensible products and capital improvement projects at Mt. Ashland. Both employees and guests also need to step up efforts to avoid, mitigate, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Ski areas cater to their customers. The more obvious employees and guests make their environmental values – for example, by carpooling to the mountain in a fuel efficient vehicle or purchasing alternative energy such as wind power – the more support Mt. Ashland has for sharing those environmental values.
Mt. Ashland is a small, non-profit ski area dedicated to minimizing ecological impact. Since the beginning of Mt. Ashland Association, the Board of Directors, staff, and community members have voiced the importance of environmental stewardship. They have contributed countless hours towards the creation of a strategic plan. As a result, the organization is making systematic, dedicated and sincere changes within the organization to accomplish the goals established in the plan. By implementing many of goals in the Strategic Plan, choices more sensitive to the environment are often made even when a greater financial investment is required.
The NSAA Environmental Charter serves as a guide for us to put environmental principles into action. The principles guide us in three main areas.
Mt. Ashland Sustainability Principles in Action
1. Planning, Design, and Construction
3. Education and Outreach
The Principals are voluntary and intended to provide overall guidance for improving environmental stewardship instead of simply asking us to meet a list of requirements that must be applied in every situation. The Principles are meant to go “beyond compliance” in those areas where improvements make sense and are economically feasible. Mt. Ashland is already required to meet federal, state, and local environmental protections. Through these principles, we are striving to improve our overall environmental performance, whether in the form of achieving efficiencies, sustaining resources, or enhancing the public’s awareness of our alpine environment.