What do you see when you imagine Park City in 20 years? How about 50? We are sure to agree certain elements are desirable, even essential. Our community should reflect our values in action: a sustainable, robust economy that is equitable and inclusive and that has a minimal net impact on the environment, a Park City where the outdoor experience is accessible and where our natural setting is clean, healthy, and mindfully managed — with a never-wavering eye on how we pay it forward to generations to come.

Aspirational community visions don’t just happen — they need analysis, planning, policy development, execution, follow through, flexibility and constant attention.

So, are you ready to get started?

This week, Park City Chamber of Commerce | Convention & Visitors Bureau, Summit County and Park City Municipal are taking a critical first step, a destination assessment by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The assessment will measure Park City against dozens of GSTC sustainability criteria and become a launchpad for a PC-specific stewardship plan. The result — still many months in the future — will include sustainability objectives, tactics, timelines and responsible parties.

Why bring in the GSTC? The Global Sustainable Tourism Council is the world’s leading body in establishing global standards for sustainable travel and tourism. Their criteria form the foundation for sustainable accreditation. From Argentina to Botswana, Catalina Islands to the Caymans, Slovenia to Switzerland, GSTC members take sustainability actions that assure a balanced, economically and socially successful tourism industry.

In Park City, we are especially fortunate that a founding member and current vice president of the GSTC is right in our own backyard. Dr. Kelly Bricker chairs the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism and is a Professor of Sustainable Tourism, Ecotourism & Nature-based Recreation for the University of Utah. Dr. Bricker will be personally assisting us through the GSTC assessment process.

This week, the Chamber|Bureau hosted the first meeting of a task force to begin this crucial task. In these early days, the participants are government, business, and NGO leaders best suited to produce the information needed at this stage, such as:

  • Sustainable destination management and governance

  • Economic benefits of tourism to the local host community

  • Protection of cultural heritage, community, and visitor well-being

  • Environmental protection and conservation.

Specifics include DMO (Destination Management Organization, in our case, the Park City Chamber|Bureau) structure and accountability, local planning regulations, property acquisition, community opinion, safety and security, crisis planning and management, heritage, natural and wildlife resource protection, climate action planning, greenhouse gas emissions, wastewater and waste reduction, noise and light pollution, and access for all.

This partial list shows the rigor of the process and the level of detail their assessment will produce. It will be a perfect starting point for the critical public participation process that includes all, resulting in a stewardship plan reflecting Park City’s desires and values.

I hope you are as excited about sustainability action as I am. Assuring all of us a have voice and a stake in a fair, equitable and sustainable Park City is a worthy goal I know we all share!