Breckenridge has officially been certified as a sustainable mountain resort destination.
The town of Breckenridge was certified by Green Destinations, an internationally accredited certification body. It's the third destination in the United States to become certified through the program that is accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, following in the footsteps of Vail.
The announcement was made Tuesday, April 5th, by the town of Breckenridge.
Certification efforts include environmental stewardship, climate change adaptation, greenhouse gas reductions, cultural heritage protection, low impact transportation, waste reduction, public health and safety, workforce housing, and sustainability education.
While home to nearly 5,000 residents, the town of Breckenridge sees more than one million visitors each year. Formerly a mining town, the installation of ski lifts in the 1960s turned sights toward tourism.
Notable past achievements include the preservation of 4,425 acres of open space, creation of a workforce housing program and fund, establishment of a child care tuition assistance program, and improvement of land use and development code protecting historical assets of the town.
Robert (Bobby) Chappell, Green Destination’s North American Representative says, “Breckenridge has a long history of sustainability good practice and were able to leverage that experience to design an effective destination management framework. Certification is recognition for that journey.”
Entering its tenth year of service, the SustainableBreck program is working to address 100 percent renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions goals, a ban on single use plastic bags, and the transition of the town's transportation fleet to electric powered.
“We are very proud of this Mountain Ideal Certification,” said Lucy Kay, CEO, Breckenridge Tourism Office. “Local lifestyles revolve around our incredible natural environment and residents are very passionate about how well we care for it. In addition, environmental sustainability is increasingly cited by travelers as being important in their destination decisions. This recognition means so much on so many levels.”
More than a hundred local businesses have been certified by the ResourceWise program, a free program that offers coaching to businesses through improving operational efficiency, employee engagement, and resource conservation.
“This Mountain IDEAL Certification is critical for the Council’s goal of Breckenridge being a leader in environmental stewardship,” said Eric Mamula, Mayor. “We are honored to be a certified destination and are grateful for all the hard work that went into pursuing this certification. We hope this sends a message to the rest of the country and the world that tourism, community, and sustainability can go hand in hand and that this balance is the future of protecting our natural resources.”
The certification was years in the making and required work by a multi-year partnership between the Town of Breckenridge, Breckenridge Tourism Office, High Country Conservation Center, Vail Resorts, Summit County Government, Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, Walking Mountains Science Center, U.S. Forest Service, and others.