The Environment Foundation released four grants totaling $55,000 to Wilderness Workshop, Thompson Divide Coalition, Western Environmental Law Center and High Country News. These grants represent a continued commitment of the foundation to support responsible oil/gas development. Wilderness Workshop will continue its work to ensure all leasing decisions properly account for public input and existing regulations are followed. The Thompson Divide Coalition will work to negotiate the retirement of existing oil and gas leases in the Divide to preserve the area for existing surface uses. Western Environmental Law Center will provide the legal advice for North Fork Valley residents working to ensure the agricultural values of the valley are not overrun by short term energy extraction efforts. And, High Country News will report on the human, social and environmental impacts of drilling throughout the mountain west.
In addition the foundation released four grants totaling $25,000 dedicated to maintaining trail/open space infrastructure throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. From the cross country trails of Spring Gulch to the high alpine trails on North Maroon and Capitol peaks Environment Foundation grants are supporting organizations like Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, Aspen Valley Land Trust and Mount Sopris Nordic Council.
“The Environment Foundation’s grant enables Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers to schedule and complete three volunteer projects on our 2014 schedule – the Mt Sopris and East Elk Creek Trails and the Crooked Creek wetland restoration,” says David Hamilton, Executive Director.
“Again and again our members have voiced their support for smart, sensible energy policy valuing the land that surrounds their homes for its aesthetic qualities rather than as a resource to be plundered,” said Matthew Hamilton, Executive Director, Environment Foundation. “The foundation’s recent grants reaffirm this commitment to land conservation that respects present and future uses.”
“This is a big boost for our ongoing efforts to protect the Thompson Divide and the livelihoods this land supports,” says Zane Kessler, Thompson Divide Coalition Executive Director. “The Environment Foundation has shown, once again, its commitment to environmental and economic sustainability in the region.”
“This is a pivotal year for the public lands on the western end of the Roaring Fork Valley. Citizen engagement and activism has reached a crescendo and the Environment Foundation’s funding is directly supportive of this community effort,” says Wilderness Workshop Executive Director, Sloan Shoemaker. “This generous support will allow us to continue our all hands on deck response to protect our backcountry and associated sustainable uses that support our local economy against the boom/bust cycles of the gas industry.”
In total, the Foundation donated more than $114,000 to 14 projects in the spring of 2014. The foundation is funded by donations from Aspen Skiing Company employees and guests, which are then matched in whole or in part by Aspen Community Foundation, the Aspen Skiing Company Family Fund, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Coca-Cola. Since its inception the foundation has supported 425 projects with $2.5 million in grants.
Spring 2014 funded projects represent a broad range of environmental issues facing the Roaring Fork Valley:
|Aspen Center for Environmental Studies: General Operating Support||$7,500|
|Aspen Valley Land Trust: Aerial imagery monitoring program||$7,000|
|Basalt Thrift Store: Store Lighting||$5,100|
|Colorado Fourteeners Initiative: Elk Mountains Fourteeners Trail Maintenance and Data Collection Project||$5,024|
|Fat City Farmers: Supporting Community and School Garden Efforts throughout the Roaring Fork Valley||$8,000|
|High Country News: Reporting on Energy Development in Western Colorado||$10,000|
|Mount Sopris Nordic Council: 2014 Spring Gulch Trail System Enhancement||$3,405|
|Roaring Fork Conservancy: General Operations Support||$4,000|
|Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV): 2014 Trail and Restoration Projects||$10,000|
|The Buddy Program: Experiential Programs and Outdoor Leadership||$5,000|
|Thompson Divide Coalition: To prevent oil and gas drilling in Thompson Divide||$20,000|
|WE-Cycle: Bike Share Ambassador Program||$4,000|
|Western Environmental Law Center: North Fork Valley Oil & Gas Defense Campaign||$10,000|
|Wilderness Workshop: Oil & Gas Defense||$15,000|
Applications for fall 2014 funding are due November 1, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. Those interested in receiving an application can email Matthew Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.