SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 BY 

Our View commentary from the Steamboat Pilot & Today | September 18, 2019

At issue: Several local sustainability efforts have been announced lately, including Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s launch of a new sustainability department.

Our View: These efforts are important, and in particular, we’ve been impressed with the work of Sarah Jones and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council. Jones will now lead Steamboat Resort’s sustainability programs, and we expect good things.

Editorial Board

  • Logan Molen, publisher
  • Lisa Schlichtman, editor
  • Michael Marchand, community representative
  • Jim Beers, community representative

Sustainability efforts in Steamboat Springs and Routt County are on the rise, and that is welcome news for anyone concerned about climate change and how it could affect the snowy winters that help fuel our local economy.

In recent weeks, Steamboat Pilot & Today has reported on the upcoming plastic bag ban that will go into effect in the city Oct. 1, a collaborative effort by the city and county to devise and implement a climate action and resiliency plan and a newly formed solar cooperative serving Moffat and Routt counties. And maybe the biggest headline to date was Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s decision to create a new sustainability department, an announcement made last week.

In announcing the news, Ski Corp. also revealed that longtime Yampa Valley Sustainability Council Executive Director Sarah Jones had been hired to lead the new department, and we can’t think of a better person to guide those efforts. Jones has been a tireless advocate for sustainability over the years, and during her tenure, the Sustainability Council has led the charge on many of the major “green” projects happening now in the Yampa Valley, including zero-waste initiatives, recycling drives and sustainable schools and green building initiatives.

We fully expect Jones to continue that success at Steamboat Resort, and we applaud Ski Corp.’s decision to invest in a new department dedicated solely to sustainability. Ski Corp. is doing the right thing at the right time with the right person, and now, it’s up to them to adequately staff and fund the department to implement meaningful initiatives.

We are also impressed with how the Sustainability Council is responding to the loss of its executive director. Board President Scott Conner will take over the reins of the organization as an interim, which will give the council time to find the right replacement for Jones, who leaves big shoes to fill. This succession plan makes good sense and allows council leadership to continue building on the momentum they’ve created while also allowing time to “reset” and possibly rethink the organization’s future needs.

And if you thought only adults were involved in local sustainability efforts, you’d be wrong. Young people in our community are also making sure their voices are heard on issues like climate change, and Steamboat Springs High School student Emi Cooper is a shining example.

In addition to protesting weekly on the courthouse lawn in downtown Steamboat, Emi is now organizing a Climate Strike at the high school on Friday, Sept. 20. Students who choose to participate will walk out of school at 9:50 a.m. and walk to the courthouse where they will strike until returning to the school at 1 p.m.

The local strike is planned in conjunction with a global, youth-led strike that is being held in advance of the UN Climate Summit on Monday, Sept. 23. Community members are invited to attend the strike as a show of solidarity for the Steamboat students.

Sustainability is something many people in Steamboat Springs and Routt County are passionate about, and it’s exciting to see businesses, elected officials, community groups and young people taking action on the issue through innovative and well-executed programs.

Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or