Sustainability has always been one of the core values of the Highland Trails business. Maintaining the land we ride on requires planning and careful attention to detail, and it’s something we pride ourselves on.
Highland’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond our work on the trails. In recent years Highland has partnered with CLIF to ramp up sustainability efforts in other areas of mountain operations. With CLIF’s support, we’ve been able to implement incremental changes around the park that address our environmental impact day-to-day.
Our first target was plastic bottle waste. As mountain bikers, we drink a lot of water. Single-use plastic water bottles are notorious for having a short frame of usefulness and a long-lasting breakdown period. The CLIF water station, located at the base of the lift, provides fresh potable water for refilling your reusable bottle.
Similarly, we installed a water fountain in the lower level of the lodge. In addition to the regular spout, it also features a place to directly refill your bottle. Since it was introduced a few years ago, Highland riders have replaced more than 40,000 single-use bottles.
We also started recycling on a large scale. It’s no surprise that a bike park goes through a lot of bottles, cans, and cardboard boxes. (So many boxes!) We simply weren’t comfortable with the amount of waste we were sending to a landfill on a weekly basis. It’s good to know that a portion of the waste we generate is now being repurposed.
New this year, we’re cutting back on paper towel waste in the bathrooms by installing electric hand dryers. (An added benefit here is the decreased likelihood that you’ll somehow find yourself back in the lift line with someone else’s paper towel stuck to your heel.)
All of the little things we can do to be more sustainable add up over time. For example, whenever you walk under a light post in the Highland parking lot, you’re being illuminated by solar power. It doesn’t seem like much, but it saves a lot of electricity.
Every year, Highland continues to make strides toward being a more sustainable business. Earth Day is a great reminder to us all to take care of the natural resources we enjoy.