Hayman Burn Area Restoration Partnership
Vail Resorts has entered a ground breaking partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to restore and rejuvenate the forest habitat devastated by Colorado’s 2002 Hayman Fire, which burned about 70 miles southwest of Denver. Vail Resorts has taken a leadership role in the project, which is the most comprehensive public-private partnership forest health and watershed restoration in Colorado, and potentially the country. The focus of the partnership is on forest restoration and more importantly, water quality because 80% of Colorado’s Front Range depends on water coming from the Hayman area. Unfortunately, the type of trees impacted by the Hayman Fire are not likely to rejuvenate naturally and the U.S. Forest Service does not have the resources, on its own, to make significant progress on that effort.
The Vail Resorts-U.S. Forest Service Hayman restoration project will:
· Plant over 200,000 trees
· Restore vital wildlife habitat, river beds and vegetation
· Repair key trails, roads and infrastructure
· Make dramatic improvements to an area that impacts the water supply to 75% of Colorado residents
While the bulk of the work associated with this project will be coordinated by the Mile High Youth Corps, Vail Resorts will contribute 1,500 hours of employee time to help with this project. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $4 million, with Vail Resorts committing $750,000 over 3 years to get project going.
National Forest Support
Vail Resorts (Breckenridge’s parent company) has partnered with the National Forest Foundation to raise money for conservation projects in the national forests where Vail Resorts operations are located. The program raises money by adding $1 to the total for each Vail Resorts season pass purchased or room night stayed at a Vail Resorts property (which can be removed by the guest), and is matched 50% by the National Forest Foundation. The money is then distributed by the National Forest Foundation to non-profit organizations doing on-the-ground conservation work in the National Forests where Vail Resorts operates.
Mountain Pine Beetle
Brown lodgepole pine trees around Breckenridge and Summit County have been killed as a result of an infestation by mountain pine beetles. Mountain pine beetles burrow into the bark of pine trees and lay eggs in the inner bark (the living layer of the tree). The eggs hatch into larvae that eat the living inner bark layer. The beetles also carry blue stain fungus on their bodies which develops and spreads throughout the tree and slows the flow of water and nutrients. The combination of larvae eating the bark and the blue stain fungus slowing the flow of nutrients cuts off the flow of water and pitch to the branches and needles, killing the tree. As trees die, their needles change from green to rusty brown.
Once the larvae mature into beetles, the beetles fly to a new tree, generally sometime between early July and early September. The beetles only have to fly a short distance to find another living tree to attack. The number of beetles in the current outbreak has reached epidemic proportion and widespread areas of trees have been killed as a result.
Breckenridge Ski Resort has worked with the Town of Breckenridge on controlling the spread of mountain pine beetle within the Town’s boundary. In 2007, Breckenridge Ski Resort cut 200 trees infested with pine beetle in the ski resort’s interface with the Town. More trees are expected to be cut in the coming years as the pine beetle infestation continues.
Mountain Pine Beetle Actual size
Blue Stain Fungus evident in a tree killed by mountain pine beetle.
Pitch tubes are evidence that a tree has been hit by mountain pine beetles.
Tree Planting on Peak 9
In June 2008, the Breckenridge Trail Crew planted 3,000 tree seedlings on Peak 9 to re-vegetate old lift lines and trails that are no longer used. The seedlings were grown by the U.S. Forest Service from seeds collected around the Breckenridge Ski Area. The Trail Crew planted a mix of Spruce, Fir, and Lodgepole Pine to help diversify the types of trees in the forest, improving the forest’s ability to withstand a natural challenge like the mountain pine beetle epidemic we are currently experiencing.
To reduce our impact on natural systems, we also support:
Fish and Wildlife Habitat Protection
Recycling and Waste Reduction