Alta Environmental Center – Keeping Alta Clean

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author:

Words by Hannah Follender

On Saturday, July 20th, the Alta Environmental Center hosted their 4th annual Alta Ski Area Clean-up Day. 78 volunteers, including the Environmental Center crew, equipped with gloves and orange trash bags took part in cleaning up nearly a 1/2 TON of trash. But not all of the findings are trash. In fact, last year one-third of the findings were reusable and another third were recyclable. Old ski gear is recycled through the Snowsports Industries America (SIA) recycling program.

Alta Ski Area cleanup day

Cleanin’ up Alta Ski Area. Photo: Hannah Follender

Though some of the volunteers are skiers, the majority of the participants are goodwill volunteers according to Maura Olivos, head of the Alta Environmental Center. “Ideally we would love to have it be 50% skiers, after all this is their ski area, though this is also national forest land.”

The Environmental Center also heads up bi-monthly weed pulls which offer yet another great opportunity to experience Alta in the summer and contribute to the up-keep of the area. The idea of weeding might sound like a lost cause, but in fact it’s not. The species’ responsible for causing problems in the valley have only begun to creep up canyon, so now is the time to control them. “We could do the stewardship by ourselves,” says Maura, “but there’s no fun in that. People forget that despite the fact that Alta is a ski area, it’s also a national forest and public land.”

Alta Ski Area wildflowers

Alta wildflowers. Photo: Hannah Follender

The Alta Environmental Center partners on events with a number of local groups including the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation (CCF), Friends of Alta (FOA), and Alta Community Enrichment (ACE). The trash clean-up day was done in conjunction with the CCF, and monthly weed pulls are hosted by both the CCF and FOA.

Alta is a unique place to learn about environmental issues and test the next wave of sustainability practices. As a ‘center’ the Environmental Center’s goals include supporting education, science, research, and stewardship. “There is so much going on up here,” says Maura, “you have a for-profit ski area, a real town, multiple non-profits, a protected watershed, national forest land, a relatively pristine and natural environment, and it’s all only minutes away from a city of over 1 million people.” The Center aims to be a liaison to the area and bring value by helping people better understand the importance of conservation.

For information on the Alta Environmental Center as well as Upcoming Events please visit www.altaence.com.

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