Mountain Environmental Initiatives and Mitigation
To offset any impacts from the proposed mountain improvements and to help correct the environmental impacts of historic logging, grazing and related practices that USFS has permitted within or near the ski permit area, DMR has committed to numerous mitigation and environmental improvement initiatives, including, but not necessarily limited to the following:
- All proposed improvements are within the existing permit area west of the highway or within areas of existing trails east of the highway. Thus the amount of new land disturbance is minimized
- Former logging, and grazing access roads will be closed and re-vegetated to native condition to repair historical damage from non-ski operations and improve watershed quality
- The cattle fence in Hermosa Park will be relocated out of the Hermosa Creek bed to keep grazing cattle away from the home of the sensitive Colorado River Cutthroat Trout. Riparian area that was damaged by grazing cows will be re-vegetated to restore the creek bed side-slopes.
- Preserving certain areas as uncompacted, portions of the permit area will be closed to offset for any new winter trails that will compact snow
- Restoration of the Purgatory Creek stream channel
- Green building and aesthetic criteria for all new on-mountain facilities and upgrades
- All trails and maintenance roads will have erosion and sediment controls installed (such as water bars) to minimize sediment from run-off
- Vegetation management prescriptions will be implemented to improve forest health and trail edges will be “feathered” to minimize visual impact
- Special operations (limited grooming and snow-making hours, etc) will be employed to protect the Canada Lynx
- A lynx mitigation fund with impact fees paid at each residential building permit will ultimately provide over $800,000 for Lynx mitigation improvements in Southwest Colorado
- Special snow grooming techniques (such as mechanical removal in certain areas) will be used to minimize snow-making impact to wetland impact zones
- Numerous drainage improvements designed to correct the historic impacts of logging, maintenance and grazing access roads and improve overall watershed quality
Resort Environmental Initiatives
Biodiesel/Emissions ReductionA biodiesel mixture is used in the resort’s entire grooming and in-resort shuttle fleet. Purgatory was one of the first resorts in Colorado to use biodiesel fuel and continues to be one of the largest users of the alternative fuel in Colorado. We are also a principal sponsor of the newly formed San Juan Biodiesel Cooperative which is constructing a 2.5 million gallon per year oil seed extrusion and biodiesel manufacturing facility in nearby Dove Creek, Colorado. Our snowmobile fleet is comprised of four-stroke machines, which run significantly cleaner than two-stroke machines, emitting 95-98% less hydrocarbons, 85% less carbon monoxide and 90-96% less particulate matter.
Recycling We operate the recycling center for the entire North County area, providing recycling services for all nearby residents and businesses. We offer many recycling bins for employees and guests in various locations around the resort to collect recyclable items including aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles. We recycle oil, oil filters and antifreeze from resort equipment. We employ recyclable materials wherever possible throughout the resort, including aluminum bottles, biodegradable cups and lodging amenities.
Energy ConservationOur snowmaking operations run on off-peak power demand times and our snowmaking pumps/guns have been upgraded to minimize their energy usage. We are also working on several solar power, micro-hydro and other energy conservation projects to reduce energy consumption.
Water ConservationOur snowmaking water comes from the Xcel Aqueduct, where we “borrow” water in the fall when it is not needed for hydro-power and then return it once the snow melts in the summer to be used for hydro-power generation.
Green Building StandardsOur resort buildings and the new residential structures in our resort community employ green building techniques, recycle building waste and utilize passive solar, energy conserving and water conserving appliances and fixtures.
Vehicle Mile ReductionOur employee shuttle and carpool programs help keep cars off the road and pollutants out of the air. Through this program, we helped keep 64,755 pounds of hydrocarbons, 444,750 pounds of carbon monoxide, and 34,868 pounds of nitrogen oxides from being discharged into the air last year.