Hart shifts focus from Chaffee County tourism board to sustainability initiative

Chaffee County Visitor’s Bureau Marketing Director Lee Hart will leave the tourism board later this month to focus her efforts full time on a new business initiative aimed at sustainability.

According to Hart, Collegiate Peaks Geotourism is a market-driven, citizen-led initiative aimed at promoting sustainability and showcasing those businesses, organizations, people, projects and stories within the county that support a more sustainable future. The initiative will be officially unveiled to the media and public during a new annual event called Green Jam. Green Jam is a compilation of interactive experiences, educational sessions and celebration held in conjunction with Earth Day, the worldwide event held annually April 22. The debut of Green Jam will be April 24 – 26 and every fourth weekend of April years afterward.

Commissioner Jerry Mallett, running on a re-election campaign platform solidly promoting sustainability, said he is encouraged by the broad-based community support and statewide interest the Collegiate Peaks Geotourism Initiative has already garnered. “This geotourism initiative is an integral part of the larger story of the emerging culture and business of sustainability in Chaffee County,” Mallett said. “I support this initiative and believe it will provide a beneficial enhancement to our traditional tourism marketing efforts.” Mallett said he also appreciates that the project will showcase such non-traditional tourism issues as renewable energy, local food production and ways for visitors and locals alike to interact with allied advocacy organizations.

Hart shared information about the local sustainability initiative to statewide tourism industry leaders at the recent governor’s conference on tourism. Colorado State University Professor Stuart Cottrell joined Hart to provide a global perspective. Also on the panel was Kate Collins, marketing director for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association that, with help from CSU, is conducting its own research into sustainable directions for that community.

Following the conference presentation, Colorado Tourism Office Board member Steve Smith told Hart he would support the development of a statewide sustainable tourism effort and recognized Chaffee County for its leadership in that direction.

For further information about the local sustainability initiative, visit http://www.sustainable.travel or call Hart at 539.7788.

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