Saturday, Sept. 21 marked Northstar’s third annual Vail Resorts’ Echo Day through which hundreds of volunteer hours are contributed to a major project in partnership with a community organization in need. This year, the Sugar Pine Foundation led the project to restore forested land protected by the California Tahoe Conservancy between Brockway Summit and Kings Beach just north of North Lake Tahoe.
“Sugar Pines used to account for 25 percent of the forest around Lake Tahoe,” said Sugar Pine Foundation Executive Director Maria Mircheva. “We’re trying to restore that population, which currently stands at only five percent. The amount we accomplished in one day with Northstar’s help is invaluable and hopefully the rain that ensued will help insure these trees’ survival.”
An invasive fungus called Blister Rust wiped out a majority of the sugar pine population in and around the Tahoe Basin in previous decades, causing fire crews to cut down infected trees and drastically thin some areas. The Sugar Pine Foundation reproduces fungus-resistant sugar pines and leads major planting projects to restore the population and enhance the forest’s diversity.
“Echo Day provides our employees and their friends and family with the opportunity to give back and lend a helping hand in our own backyard,” said Northstar Chief Operating Officer Bill Rock. “We recognize what an important role Tahoe’s forests play for our guest and we’re thrilled we could team up with the Sugar Pine Foundation for this project.”
The project is made possible through Vail Resorts Echo, an arm of Vail Resorts focused on environmental stewardship, charitable contributions and volunteerism. Through Vail Resorts Echo’s programs, Vail Resorts connects to the core issues concerning the natural environments and communities in which the resorts operate. While Northstar employees busied themselves planting trees, projects in Colorado, Utah, Minnesota and Michigan were happening simultaneously in the communities surrounding Vail Resort’s ten ski areas.
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