Environment Foundation Grants $114K for the Roaring Fork Valley

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.

Bill Mellenthin, Controller - Hospitality Division at Aspen Skiing Company, hard at work on the Airline Trail with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers.

Bill Mellenthin, Controller – Hospitality Division at Aspen Skiing Company, hard at work on the Airline Trail with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers.

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.

Photo provided by Zane Kessler - Thompson Divide Coalition.

Photo provided by Zane Kessler – Thompson Divide Coalition.

“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:

Organization Amount
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
TOTAL $114,029

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 mhamilton@aspensnowmass.com.

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About Matthew Hamilton

Matthew Hamilton is Aspen Skiing Company’s (ASC) Sustainability Director. He is also the Executive Director of the Environment Foundation, which has donated more than $2 million over the past 15 years. Matthew oversees ASC's community philanthropy, and runs ASC's day-to-day environmental programs, including the monthly Greenletter, and GREENTRACK, ASC's ISO 14001 certified environmental management system. Matthew is also consultant with Aspen Sustainability Associates, and has lectured nationally and internationally on ASC's work. He currently serves as President of the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education, and on the boards of the Carbondale Tourism Council, Colorado Youth Corps Association and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. Previously, Matthew was a Research Officer at The Piton Foundation, working with low income neighborhoods on issues of education reform, affordable housing and economic development. Prior to that, he worked for Share Our Strength, a national anti-hunger anti-poverty group; the Independent Sector, a national association of nonprofits and foundations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (on a project called Enterprise for the Environment), for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and for Middlebury College. Matthew has a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Middlebury College and a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University where he focused on nonprofit management. During his free time he can be found on his bike spending time enjoying many of the local trails and back roads. He lives in Carbondale, Colorado with his wife Jen, and their children Boden and Beck.