Friday, May 15, 2009

Gunflint Nordic Ski Trails Carbon Off-Set to Gunflint Green Up

Nordic Skiing is normally considered an eco-friendly sport, northeast Minnesota’s Gunflint Nordic ski trail managers have taken this one step further. The Central and Upper Gunflint Ski Areas connected by the Banadad Ski Trail known collectively as the 210 Kilometer Gunflint Nordic Ski System this year went carbon neutral.

The trail managers calculation the cost of sequestering the carbon emissions produced from the maintenance and grooming of the trails based on information from the Chicago Climate Exchange, “Regional Estimates of TreeAnnual Carbon Accumulation,” and the Gunflint Ranger District, USFS tree plant cost estimates.

Then, yesterday, May 5, at the Gunflint Trail Association’s Spring Meeting ski trail representatives presented a $896 “carbon off-set” check to Nancy Seaton, Gunflint Green Up chairman, The money will be used as seed money for next year’s tree planting. Since the Gunflint Trail’s 2007 Ham Lake Fire, the Gunflint Green Up has annually purchased young trees and organized volunteers to plant the trees. To date the Green Up has planted over 100,000 new trees in the area burned over by the Fire.

According to Ted Young, Banadad Trail manager, “It was a great snow year for the Gunflint’s ski trails. That translated into lots of grooming hours. And as a result we put lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere- by our calculation the maintenance and grooming of the Gunflint’s three ski systems created some fifteen metric tons of CO2. We feel that offsetting this carbon by planting trees in our neighborhood, to us, is the right thing to do for the Gunflint and our environment.”

Resorts participating in Gunflint Nordic Ski Trail’s Carbon Off-set project are Gunflint Pines, Hestons and Gunflint from the Upper Gunflint Trails: Boundary Country Trekking from the Banadad and Bearskin from the Central Gunflint Trails. Golden Eagle Lodge, that maintains half of the Central Gunflint Trail offset the carbon their maintenance and grooming created by planting trees on their own property.

Note- Attached image- Left to Right Ted Young, Boundary Country Trekking, Nancy Seaton, Gunflint Green Up Chairperson, Dennis Neitzke, Gunflint Ranger USFS, Shari Baker Gunflint Pines Resort, and Sue McCloughan, Bearskin Lodge.


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