Breckenridge Earns Mountain Ideal Certification

The certification goes beyond typical conservation efforts and evaluates destinations based on innovation, diversity, education and leadership.

Video Transcript

- A Colorado mountain town singled out for its sustainability. Breckenridge now recognized internationally as a Green Destination. It is considered a really big deal.

- Sure is. And this month, CBS News and CBS4 are bringing you reports about the state of our planet and how our actions, indeed, influence the climate. CBS4's Jamie Leary checking in from Breckenridge. Jamie, that small community having a big impact on the environment.

JAMIE LEARY: And it's really, Jim, a big deal for Summit County in general. Breckenridge is the second destination town in the world to receive the Mountain IDEAL Accreditation. Vail was the first in 2018, but Breckenridge did this all while navigating the pandemic.

Now this is, of course, a big deal, but the accreditation is difficult to get. The how, pretty straightforward. It required everyone in this county to work together.

HALEY LITTLETON: It's not even just that the town of Breckenridge was certified. It's really that Breckenridge as a destination was certified. So this really involved business people, lodging, tourism, Summit County, the Forest Service.

JAMIE LEARY: It's one good thing to come from the pandemic. Communities have had to work closely to solve problems. In Summit County, without those partnerships, the Mountain IDEAL Certification couldn't happen.

HALEY LITTLETON: This sort of collaboration, we believe, is the future for making sure that everything is sustainable.

JAMIE LEARY: The certification, done by Green Destinations, goes beyond typical conservation efforts. It evaluates destinations based on innovation, diversity, education, and leadership.

HALEY LITTLETON: It's very unique, and a lot of hard work went into it.

JAMIE LEARY: Of course, there's focus on recycling and trash. That's part of it. Another--

HALEY LITTLETON: What does it mean to promote sustainability to our visitors, to our guests? How can we be able to begin to train, actually, a lot of our workforce in sustainable messaging and background? And then, also really pushing that transportation piece.

JAMIE LEARY: Promoting alternative types of travel to visitors and getting more electric buses.

HALEY LITTLETON: You don't need a car in Breck. It's super walkable. You can bike, you can ride the bus. Those are our real big focuses when people are in town.

JAMIE LEARY: The accreditation also helped Breck find areas it can improve on. Workforce housing is a main priority, and longer term--

HALEY LITTLETON: We have this big community-wide goal of being 100% renewable energy by 2035, and so we're working on that every day.

JAMIE LEARY: Breck, of course, is working on workforce housing. But another near-term focus is eliminating single-use plastic, so Breckenridge could be the next town to eliminate the use of plastic bags.

Live in Breckenridge, Jamie Leary, CBS4 Mountain Newsroom.

- Jamie, thank you. Let's get over to--