Vermont is a popular skiing destination for the East coast. The ski town and resort of Stowe has a community in it called Spruce Peak which has a very green and relaxing quality of life. Spruce Peak has earned the Audubon Green Community Award from Audubon International, a famous non-profit environmental organization operated in New York State. On the community’s website, they are proud of their status as an Audubon community. They write, “Members of Audubon International's Sustainable Communities Program are eligible for the award, which recognizes environmental achievement and is a milestone en route to earning rigorous designation as a Certified Audubon Sustainable Community. Spruce Peak first joined the Sustainable Communities Program in early 2006, and becomes the first mountain resort in the nation to earn the Audubon Green Community Award.”
The community has made significant efforts to protect wildlife and still have a great ski resort. Spruce Peak has “2,000 acres of wildlife habitat that has been permanently protected. Those protected lands include 10 acres of summit ski terrain on Spruce Peak that have been restored to their natural state, providing crucial habitat for the Bicknell's Thrush, and dense forests adjacent to the base village that provide nesting sites for Peregrine falcons, and habitat for moose and black bear.” They have impressed not only Audubon, but many other environmental groups for this effort.
Each cabin in the resort is built to meet high standard energy efficiency. They have earned a 5-star rating, the highest a home can get on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating scale. Thousands of dollars are expected to be saved in energy costs in each cabin annually.
Storm water runoff from the Spruce Peak project area is collected in a new snowmaking pond, protecting the nearby West Branch stream from potentially negative water quality impacts. This helps to support the skiing in a very eco-friendly way.
Transportation is important to the area to help reduce vehicle emissions. For example, Spruce Peak and Stowe Mountain Resort help to financially support the Stowe Municipal Trolley system, which alleviates traffic congestion. There is also planning for a Stowe municipal bicycle path to the Spruce Peak base area, encouraging alternative transportation and providing more opportunities for recreation. The compact pedestrian-friendly base area encourages “walk ability”, always an eco-friendly choice. The construction of a new transfer lift between the Spruce Peak and the Mount Mansfield base area has eliminated the need for diesel buses to shuttle skiers between the two locations. There are possibilities that this lift may be improved even more in the future.
Spruce Peak's new golf course is being built to stringent Audubon International environmental guidelines. These guideline include being careful about roads, golfing vehicles, maintenance equipment, and vegetation. Spruce Peak has also implemented environmental consideration into corporate operations. An incentive program spurs creativity for employees who undertake environmental projects for the company. All standard office paper is 100% recycled-content. Employees are also encouraged to carpool and bicycle to be more eco-friendly.