Lake research given funds
Heavenly Ski Resort recently joined the ski industry in celebrating the first official “Sustainable Slopes Day” by offering special tours guided by Forest Service Rangers and donating $1 from the first 5,000 lift tickets sold that day to the University of California, Davis Lake Tahoe Center for Environmental Research.
The Sustainable Slopes Day Outreach Program was created by the National Ski Areas Association as a way to get the industry’s environmental message to skiers and snowboarders. In June 2000 the National Ski Areas Association board of directors adopted an Environmental Charter. The charter contains a sweeping set of voluntary principles for protecting the environment and formalizes the industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability. It outlines “best practices” for ski areas to adopt and implement. More than 160 ski areas, including Heavenly and six resorts in Canada, have endorsed the charter and pledged to implement the Environmental Principles that form the core of the charter.
Heavenly has long been a leader in the regional and national effort to protect the environment and restore the beauty of Lake Tahoe. One of the first resorts in America to implement a water-quality restoration and monitoring program, Heavenly began an aggressive water quality improvement program in 1980. The program includes erosion control through active re-vegetation of ski slopes, installing proper run-off controls on summer maintenance roads, installation of catch basins both under the resort’s parking facilities and throughout the mountain and annual maintenance.
The resort has been working closely with the USDA Forest Service, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board to continually improve the water quality in all nine watersheds draining from the mountain. Heavenly’s water quality protection strategy has served as a model for public/private water quality partnerships throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin and the United States and was recently recognized in the January/February 2001 issue of the Official Journal Of The International Erosion Control Association for its efforts.
“We are proud to be working with some of the top experts in the field of erosion control to continue to find successful strategies to protect and restore the watersheds within Heavenly,” said Dennis Harmon, Heavenly Ski Resort president. “We were pleased to have our efforts recognized by other involved in the stewardship of natural resources.”
Heavenly’s decision to donate to the UC Davis Lake Tahoe Center for Environmental Research was based on the extensive research the organization has done on Lake Tahoe’s renowned water clarity. The Tahoe Research Group has been providing scientific data about Lake Tahoe for 40 years. Last year the group announced plans to build a $12 million research facility at the Lake Tahoe, expanding its research staff for four full-time scientists to 20 and adding a new chemistry and biology wing that would allow researchers to perform studies on-site rather than having to drive samples 135 miles away, back to the UC campus.
For more details on the National Ski Areas Association Environmental Charter go to http://www.nsaa.org/environ/ and for more information on the UC Davis Lake Tahoe Center for Environmental Research log onto http://trg.ucdavis.edu/.
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