The new base area development at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont has become the first ski resort in the country to earn the Audubon Green Community Award.
It's Spruce Peak at Stowe, in the heart of the Green Mountains. How appropriate.
The recognition is from Audubon International, a non-profit environmental organization headquartered in New York State. It's a step toward earning the much tougher award -- rigorous designation as a Certified Audubon Sustainable Community.
Spruce Peak’s accomplishments include --
--Permanently protecting more than 2,000 acres of wildlife habitat through conservation easements donated to the Vermont Land Trust and the state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
-- Restoring ten acres of summit ski terrain to their natural state plus dense forests adjacent to the base village. That provides a crucial habitat for the Bicknell’s Thrush, nesting sites for Peregrine falcons, and also friendly habitats for moose and black bear.
-- Mountain cabins built to the maximum 5-star rating of the EPA’s Home Energy Rating System. Each cabin is expected to save $3,500 per year through these 'green' energy efficiencies.
-- The a new transfer lift between the Spruce Peak and the Mount Mansfield base area, which has eliminated the need for a fleet of smoke-belching diesel buses to shuttle skiers between the two mountains.