The oceans are rising, the American Southwest is becoming a new Sahara, and our fish and birds stick to an exclusive diet of plastic! Dry areas are becoming drier, wet areas are wetter, volcanoes, earthquakes, famine, and tsunamis! Ok, scary stuff aside, our world is changing and there is no way to deny it anymore. We are living in a unique time where we are seeing a different Planet Earth. However, there is a renaissance happening and we are also in an era of more bike lanes, the restructuring of cities to accommodate people and not cars, and long standing ideals about personal health are changing for the better. We’ll call it the “Green Movement.”
Yep, there is no better time than now to jump on the environmental train. In Park City, going green is actually pretty easy. Due to our awesome tax laws and forward-thinking city officials, the infrastructure has been put in place for you to move about our mountain community with relative ease and far less of a carbon footprint. The ideas that I list below aren’t going to save the planet, but they are things you can do to live healthier and support our awesome community. For those of you who don’t live in Park City, I can almost guarantee that your town or city has a plan to implement some or all of what I’ve listed below; unless it already has it! So do your part. The few actions of many add up to a greater good.
Bike and Foot Paths in Park City
To start, you can probably ditch the car when running errands. The footpaths in and around Park City make walking or riding your bike safe and fun and access virtually every location in Park City and the Snyderville Basin. These trails are well separated from the roads and often cut through neighborhoods for even easier access. If you’re new in town or just visiting our community, check out the Mountain Trails Interactive Map for a full breakdown of the trail system.
Something truly unique to Park City is the amount of permanent open space that cannot be built upon. Areas like Round Valley and Iron Mountain are protected from development, making them ideal for multi-use trails that you can use to get around town. One of my favorite rides is taking the Lost Prospector trail from my house to work in the morning. It is short and sweet and an easy opportunity to hop on the trails before a day in the office. And if I don’t go that way, I grab my trusty townie and ride the Poison Creek bike path straight to work. Check out my bicycle commuting guide for a little more information on that subject.
Free Transit in Park City
If you’re in a bit of hurry and don’t have time for walking or riding your bike, the Park City Transit system covers town, all three ski resorts, and goes all the way out to the Pinebrook and Jeremy Ranch neighborhoods. Virtually every grocery store, bank, and even bike shop is accessible by Park City’s awesome(!) free buses.
The bus system even caters to cyclists and skiers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken the bus home with my bike and a load of groceries. Around early-June the bus takes faithful mountain bikers up to Deer Valley Resort and Empire Pass, providing easy access to the Mid Mountain trail and higher elevation trails like Corvair, without the climb. Buses in Park City not only have bike racks on the front, but also allow bikes to be transported inside. I’ve counted 27 bikes with riders before. It is sometimes a tight fit but everyone makes it work.
In the winter, the buses provide easy access to all three ski resorts in Park City. This makes getting around super easy and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of busy and packed parking lots. Plus getting dropped off means you only have to carry your skis for a short stroll, instead of a full-on hike from the back of the parking lot.
Recycling in Park City
An obvious way to go green in Park City is to recycle, which is something I’m sure you already do. The Park City recycling center, known as Recycle Utah, goes above and beyond just repurposing your glass bottles, cans, and newspapers. Their extensive collection service also accepts outdated electronic equipment, used bike tires and tubes, and your retired ski equipment. Yes, whatever snowboards or skis you haven’t made into chairs or added to your fence, you can take to Recycle Utah where they will be sent to a processing plant to extract reusable materials.
Beyond skis, the recycling center in Park City also accepts and then sells products that still work. One time, my poor college self found a nice blender that was fairly inexpensive. And their Good Wood project sells used lumber for a fraction of the cost while saving a couple of trees in the process. Best of all, the proceeds from these sales help fund the center itself.
Green Outdoor Gear
So let’s say you already do everything I outlined above but you’re still looking for ways to be a little greener. The next step would be to take an assessment of your outdoor gear. Softgoods in particular use A LOT of different chemicals and materials that aren’t easily recyclable. Fabrics like nylon and polyester are a form of plastic and aren’t biodegradable.
This is why a number of Jans’ manufacturer partners are producing more environmental products. As an example, authorized Patagonia Bluesign products go through an assessment beginning with the raw materials of a product. Each step of the manufacturing process is assessed and altered for energy efficiency and waste management.
Other brands like Marmot and ExOfficio also have taken steps to ensure that their products have a sustainable background. The Marmot Newport Men’s Shirt uses a recycled polyester fabric, making it a greener option that still includes all the tech features you’ve come to expect from Marmot.
ExOfficio takes it one step further by incorporating recycled coffee grounds into the fabric of their aptly named Javatech Pullover Hoody for Women. This technology allows the fabric to naturally trap odor and wick moisture without using harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process. If anyone should be concerned with environmental awareness, it should be the brands that provide gear to people with a passion for recreating outdoors. And for well over a decade, the outdoor industry has been making leaps and bounds in the name of sustainability.
So ditch the car, grab your mountain bike, a pair of running shoes, or your trusty sneakers and get around with the mindset that less is more. All of us together can do something better for our one (and only) planet.
Paul Boyle, Marketing Specialist