Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation is donating $100,000 per year over the next five years to the newly launched Yampa River Fund, a local water fund created through partnerships with The Nature Conservancy and local partners. The $500,000 donation is the largest single cash commitment in Steamboat’s history, and unlocks a one-to-one donation match from other sources for a total of $1 million to benefit the fund.
“We are incredibly proud to be a founding donor of the Yampa River Fund,” said Rob Perlman, president and COO of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “The Yampa River really defines who we are as a community and what makes this valley and all of northwest Colorado so special in terms of agricultural, industrial, environmental, municipal, and recreational benefits. One of our core values as a company is protecting and preserving our environment, and being an active participant in the Yampa River Fund is another big move in our efforts to sustain our future for generations to come.”
A run through Colorado’s Yampa whitewater reveals the wildness that remains. But will the West’s rivers survive urban demands? Over-allocation of Colorado River Basin water and climate change are intensifying long-running conflict. Unlike other Colorado River tributaries, the Yampa still flows relatively freely, like an unblocked human artery, sustaining life.
Today, dam builders are looking farther upstream, including a potential pumpback project that would transfer water across the Continental Divide to quench the thirst of Colorado’s rapidly growing Front Range communities.
Americian Rivers comments that the Yampa provides world-class recreation, is the source of a thriving agricultural economy, serves as the life blood for endangered fish species, and drives local economies from Steamboat Springs to Vernal, Utah. A large-scale diversion would have dramatic impacts on river function all the way to Lake Powell. Not only would it be an ecological disaster for the Yampa and the Upper Colorado River basin, it would cost billions of dollars, putting a huge burden on Colorado taxpayers and water rate payers.
The Yampa River Fund is a collaborative community-based organization dedicated to identifying and funding activities that protect water supply, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities provided by the Yampa River. Water funds are a common entity in communities around the U.S and the world, and they work to create collaborative planning and implementation tools for communities to create water security.
“I can’t think of a better way to kick off Steamboat’s new sustainability work than by making a big splash into such an important community effort,” said Steamboat sustainability and community engagement director Sarah Jones. “We appreciate how critical the environment is to our business and understand the inextricable link between the river and the resort. Funding the Yampa River Fund supports Steamboat’s environment, economy, and way of life.”
Source: SAM Magazine