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GoPro Mountain Games’ Protect Our Playgrounds looks to take care of local lands, rivers, trails

July 5, 2023, 12:16 pm

The Vail Valley Foundation recently issued the following press release on the GoPro Mountain Games Protect Our Playgrounds initiative:

Thanks to the like-minded partnership between the GoPro Mountain Games and the Town of Vail and Love Vail program, one of the world’s most celebrated festivals of adventure sports, art, music and mountains is making strides in sustainability through the Mountain Games’ Protect Our Playgrounds initiative, launched in 2022. 

The mission of Protect Our Playgrounds is to take care of the land, rivers and trails that play host to the Mountain Games events each summer – and the locals and visitors year-round who travel to Vail for its unrivaled nature and outdoor activities. In its first two years, the Protect Our Playgrounds initiative has focused on the importance of water, the vital natural resource in the Vail Valley that also serves as the playground for the Mountain Games’ whitewater and fishing competitions.

On Saturday, June 24 – two weeks after 92,000-plus spectators and 4,000 athletes descended on Vail, Colorado, for the 2023 GoPro Mountain Games, June 8-11 – over 60 Mountain Games volunteers, staff and athletes partnered with Restore the Gore and the Eagle River Watershed Council for a Day of Service, as part of the event’s Protect Our Playgrounds initiative. 

Additionally, thanks to TinCup Whiskey, which donated $1 from every drink sold at the Mountain Games to Restore the Gore – a Town of Vail program aimed at protecting and restoring the health of the town’s important waterway – the Mountain Games crew was able to plant 200 native shrubs on a hillside directly next to Gore Creek near Ford Park. 

“We really appreciate all of the support from all of the volunteers,” said Peter Wadden, Watershed Health Specialist for the Town of Vail’s Environmental Sustainability department. “It’s really great to see 60 people over the course of the day – that’s enough people to do a lot of good.”

The Eagle River Watershed Council is a major advocate for the health of the Upper Colorado and Eagle River basins and provided resources and on-site help to assist with the Day of Service on June 24. 

Other sustainability efforts at the 2023 GoPro Mountain Games as part of the Protect Our Playground initiative include partnering with Walking Mountains Science Center, who go through every bag of trash from the event to ensure the most waste is diverted from the local landfill as possible. This year, the Zero Waste team with Walking Mountains led the event to an 84% diversion rate – meaning 84% of what was thrown away at the four-day festival celebrating arts, athletes, music and mountains was saved from the landfill.

Other efforts in 2023 include complimentary water stations set up in town as part of the Town of Vail’s Love Vail program, encouraging attendees to bring their own water bottles; educational outreach; and working with over 100 sponsors on-site to eliminate single-use plastics from their booths, among other endeavors.

“While the Vail Valley Foundation and GoPro Mountain Games have always put an emphasis on sustainable practices, the Protect Our Playground initiative launched in 2022 and is already yielding great results,” said Ross Leonhart, Marketing & Multi-Media Manager for the VVF. “Thanks to all of the volunteers who joined us for our Day of Service this year, and to the numerous sponsors and partners who have like-minded goals to help Protect Our Playgrounds.”

The GoPro Mountain Games return to Vail June 6-9, 2024. To volunteer for the 2024 Day of Service, join the Mountain Games email list and social media accounts to stay up to date. 

For more, visit mountaingames.com.

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