To benefit the Crested Butte Land Trust, phase out 1% for Open Space
By Alissa Johnson
When Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) opens for the summer season on June 13, it will be doing more than spinning the lifts and hosting outdoor fun like hiking, biking, concerts and the Adventure Park. Many resort-managed culinary outlets and retail locations will begin adding 1 percent to visitors’ bills to collect funds for the Crested Butte Land Trust’s ongoing stewardship efforts.
Called Tip for the Trust Stewardship Fund, the new program is part of a plan to redirect CBMR’s conservation efforts toward stewardship. The program will ultimately take the place of the resort’s participation in local nonprofit 1% for Open Space, which raises funds to protect undeveloped land in the Gunnison Valley.
According to CBMR’s director of innovations and relations Erica Mueller, “In addition to conserving land and designating it as open space, we feel strongly that we need ongoing stewardship of the land that has already been protected. This means working to ensure clean water in our rivers and lakes, restoring abandoned mining areas, maintaining trails, and much more.”
A press release explained that designating the funds for the Land Trust was a natural fit, given their partnership on projects such as the protection of 108 acres near the start of the Snodgrass Trail on the north end of Mt. Crested Butte and additional land in the North Pole Basin.
CBMR owner-operator Tim Mueller is also a former land trust board member and, together with his family, has donated more than $1,000,000 in cash and land to the land trust.
Erica Mueller also told the Crested Butte News that the decision to phase in the Tip for the Trust and phase out participation in 1% for Open Space grew out of the desire to direct all efforts toward stewardship.
“1% for Open Space is a terrific program that is investing in the entire Gunnison Valley. We appreciate all the work they are doing,” Erica Mueller said. “We understand that stewardship in particular is among the most difficult fundraising challenges, as most people think about designating land as ‘protected’ but then are unaware of the ongoing costs to maintain it. We wanted to establish something that exclusively addresses this challenge.”
Ann Johnston, executive director of the Crested Butte Land Trust, echoed that need, saying, “Saving land is the sexy part of our business. Stewardship is the understated but very necessary long-term follow-up—because once we save the land, we are obligated to care for it forever. Tip for the Trust will help the land trust complete a diversity of projects that crop up every year, ranging from building and maintaining trails, to cleaning up past mining waste and restoring habitat for wildlife.”
As an example of stewardship, Johnston cited the restoration of a 700-foot stretch of the Slate River that runs along the southeastern bank of Peanut Lake.
“Due to past human interference, including mining, Peanut Lake is precariously protected from being captured by the Slate River by just a few feet of beaver dams. The Tip for the Trust program can be part of a larger effort to help us save Peanut Lake and improve the quality of the water in the Slate River,” Johnston continued.
As CBMR introduces the Tip for the Trust program, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte businesses will be invited to join. Johnston said that it’s important to note that businesses can participate in both Tip for the Trust and 1% for Open Space.
Johnston explained, “1% for Open Space is a terrific program and in the past they’ve provided funding for a variety of organizations across the Gunnison Valley, including the Crested Butte Land Trust. We’re very thankful for their support of the recent Snodgrass project.
“We hope they will continue to be an important source of funding for the Land Trust for preservation projects. However, Tip for the Trust ensures resources for ongoing stewardship right here in Crested Butte. And it’s important to note that businesses may participate in both Tip for the Trust and 1% for Open Space.”
Glo Cunningham, president of 1% for Open Space, responded to the announcement by saying, “I am certain that Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the Crested Butte Land Trust have the best of intentions starting this new program. I also know that the community realizes the importance of the 1% For Open Space Program to the entire Gunnison Valley and we will continue to leverage our funds to preserve and protect our precious open space.”
Businesses interested in participating in Tip for the Trust can learn more by visiting www.cblandtrust.org/take-action/tip-for-the-trust. Individuals interested in volunteering for stewardship projects can take part in Wednesday Workdays hosted but the Land Trust. More information is available at www.cblandtrust.org/events/wednesday-workdays.