Stratton recently sealed the deal on a 20-year agreement to purchase energy produced by a new solar array in nearby Wallingford, the latest chapter in Stratton’s decades long story of sustainability and responsibility for the environment.
Today, Stratton is among the leading Vermont ski areas in solar energy production; currently 64 percent of all energy used is renewable (wind and solar), with an overall mix that is 94 percent carbon free.
Boldly stating that “the environment is our No. 1 asset,” more than 25 years ago, the list of Stratton’s pioneering initiatives and awards is extensive. A few highlights include landmark wildlife studies, the early switch to clean-air snowmaking compressors, purchase of carbon offsets to support wind power, stream channel stabilization, establishing no-mow buffers around golf course tributaries, composting long before it was a mandate … and the donation of more than a thousand acres of land to conservation easements.
As we mark our 60th anniversary this season, sustainability continues to be the lens through which decisions are made. Check out Fresh Tracks for a look at the ways in which we protect, conserve and enjoy our mountain home.
It was in the ‘80s when Stratton’s $100,000 grant launched a six-year radio telemetry study of black bears and their response to changing land use, research conducted by the Vermont Department of Wildlife. The resulting 300-page report provided valuable insight and recommendations that have been applied to development throughout the region.
Stratton also teamed up with the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences to fund a Bicknell’s thrush habitat study. The mountain provided a unique opportunity with two summits, one developed with ski trails and a second high-elevation habitat, to study this threatened migratory bird’s response to development and human activity.
Together these studies helped define the seven distinct areas that are now permanently protected, including white-tail deer wintering grounds, bear travel corridors and Bicknell’s thrush nesting areas. “Stratton has been excellent,” said Forrest Hammond, the wildlife biologist who led the bear study. “While the state usually requires two acres of land to be offered as mitigation for every acre affected by development, Stratton’s ratio is closer to 18-to-1. This is quite a commitment and as far-reaching a plan as we have seen.”
Stratton’s commitment to wildlife habitat protection was recognized with Silver Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence, The Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and Vermont Landowner of the Year Award, a first for the state’s ski industry.
Numerous environmental awards have followed in a range of categories including clean energy, water quality and recycling as Stratton continually invests in the latest technology to protect and enhance the mountain environment. Most recently, Stratton was a finalist for the prestigious 2021 Golden Eagle Award for Innovation in Sustainability “for finding a new and inventive partnership to solve a common waste reduction challenge” and in the Hero of Sustainability category.
Heading into 2022, we focus on key aspects of our business: tracking our carbon footprint to identify efficiency opportunities, reducing energy consumption and waste, especially plastic, and increasing education for our employees and guests.
Our view is always forward as together we build on our legacy of environmental leadership and sustainability.
Posted October 18, 2021 by Myra Foster