We define sustainability broadly – and why not? Each of us is a contributor in shaping a Park City that will endure for generations as a balanced community that carefully manages natural resources, lives our inclusivity values, manages tourism with quality of life and the environment always in mind, respects our arts and history, and acts with an awareness of our climate impact.

It is one reason we’ve launched a Community Give Back Day (CGBD) pilot program this fiscal year. The plan is simple: You provide the nonprofit project. We, the Chamber/Bureau, will rustle up the volunteers. In this early stage, we are recruiting volunteers from our Board and staff, but as the program expands - and I have a good feeling that it will – more local businesses will be welcome to participate as a group project with their employees.

The community value behind the concept is also straightforward: Build a sustainable Park City for hundreds of years to come. Most Parkites recognize that to do so, we must take some personal responsibility for developing, protecting, and maintaining the Park City we want. CGBD is one engagement avenue we are exploring.  

We count 104 nonprofit organizations as Chamber partners. When you compare their missions to the seven objectives of the Sustainable Tourism Plan, it is easy to see a connection. For example, objective #3, “Protect and manage our natural environment to enable sustainable outdoor recreation,” embraces the work of many local nonprofits committed to stewarding our natural resources. 

The specific initiatives adopted in the STP require disparate community groups to cooperate closely. I believe the CGBD experience can facilitate new relationships and deepen existing ones, helping lubricate the moving parts of Park City’s civic life to make sustainability a reality. Besides, it’s fun!

Our first Give Back Day on October 7 was an immense success. We teamed with the Mountain Trails Foundation and Utah Open Lands to rehabilitate an area of Bonanza Flat near Bloods Lake. Unsustainable ‘social trails’ crisscross the vicinity, causing erosive damage, degradation of grasses and other flora, and possible contaminating Bloods Lake with runoff. Approximately 50 volunteers spent three to four hours in the area, reseeding, putting down erosion blankets, installing straw wattles to redirect runoff, and sealing off unofficial trails for redevelopment. Social connection is a big part of CGBD, and a Chamber-provided lunch for all helped cement the camaraderie of working together for the common good. As progress on the STP begins to roll – shared projects like these will provide a commonality of experience that can help people work together more smoothly.

Though our first Give Back Day improved our natural environment, we envision supporting all aspects of nonprofit sustainability work. Organizations based in music, the performing arts, historic preservation, or aiding the needy are naturally part of our sustainable community. We invite them to consider how a CGBD project might support their services.

Still, in its pilot phase, our next CGBD project is scheduled for the spring. We are wide open to your suggestions, and I’m looking forward to what our team comes up with next! Please contact Vice President for Partner Services Scott House at scotthouse@visitparkcity.com.