Yampa Valley Regional Airport offers carbon offset program toward climate action

Partners collaborate with The Good Traveler

Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden is collaborating with several dozen other airports, small airlines and corporate partners in joining the nonprofit carbon-offset program The Good Traveler.

Air travelers can make donations that are calculated by mileage to compensate for the environmental impacts of a flight through the website Those who travel by carbon-intensive air flight can contribute to the Routt County Climate Action Fund, a fund finalized this month through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

“It’s a cool opportunity for people to offset the carbon cost of their travel and a good vehicle for acceptance of other donations for climate action,” said Tim Wohlgenant, community foundation executive director.

For example, The Good Traveler website shows the carbon-offset price for one person for a round trip from Hayden to Houston is $11.68 to offset an estimated 979 kilograms of carbon dioxide. A round trip from Hayden to San Diego is $9.23 to offset an estimated 774 kg of CO2.

The Routt County Climate Action Fund joins efforts by other regional environmental nonprofits participating in The Good Traveler such as Wilderness Workshop in Carbondale, which joined in spring, and Walking Mountains Sustainability in Avon, which joined last fall.

Beverly Patera, operations director at the Wilderness Workshop, hopes more travelers to and from Aspen/Pitkin County Airport will learn about and donate an offset amount through the program. She said the workshop will be awarded $10,000 through the years via its partnership with the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, which offsets its business and conference travel.

“I’m excited about the potential of the program,” Patera said. “It’s a great opportunity and a creative solution to carbon offsetting. I’m looking forward to seeing the program grow.”

The airport in Hayden joined The Good Traveler in May, and the link to the local climate action fund was added within the past few days.

“Your support of the Routt County Climate Action Plan Fund, held at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, will enable and empower local climate action projects including habitat restoration (wetlands, post-fire regeneration and reforestation of riparian corridors), waste diversion, commercial and residential fuel-switching, energy assessments, deployment of renewable energy and implementation of climate-friendly transportation solutions,” according to the offset website.

“Like so many other mountain communities, the Yampa Valley is threatened by climate change,” the website noted. “Its most visible impacts include increased wildfire risk and reduced snowpack, which leads to lower flow levels in waterways, reduced water availability and decreased agricultural yields. The valley’s economy relies on ski tourism, outdoor recreation and agriculture, all of which are jeopardized by climate change.”

The partnership among the airport, foundation and climate fund gives individuals or businesses the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint of air travel to and from YVRA through mileage-based charitable donations to local projects working to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The Good Traveler supports emissions-reducing projects in North America that are third-party verified for quality.

Wohlgenant explained that the Climate Action Fund is a granting option for climate action programs and projects that apply. The foundation manages some 200 funds overall including Yampa Valley Gives and scholarship, endowment and memorial funds for a variety of causes such as art, cranes, education, hospice, recreation, trails and seniors.

Founded in 2015 by San Diego International Airport, the Good Traveler is a consortium of climate-conscious aviation partners dedicated to offering passengers simple and innovative solutions to make their air travel more sustainable and offering corporate partners customizable and meaningful ways to offset business carbon emissions.

The Good Traveler is not usually integrated into the point-of-sale process of buying an airplane ticket, so it requires a second step by travelers, explained Paul Abling, Walking Mountains marketing and communications director. Abling noted that approximately 98% of the offset donations go directly to Walking Mountains. The carbon-offset travel website features the option to create a profile and save traveler offsetting preferences.

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