Getting to a Park City Destination Stewardship Plan has many moving parts but one driving force: as tourism recovers, Parkites deeply desire to retain our natural and cultural character that attracts visitors in the first place. But stewarding Summit County toward a sustainable tourism future takes decisive action. That’s why the Chamber/Bureau is leading the charge to balance how tourism impacts our environment, lifestyle, and economy for generations to come.
Last July, we asked the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the leading authority on sustainable tourism standards, to perform an analysis of Park City using 38 sustainability metrics that measure our strengths and weaknesses. They reviewed hundreds of documents and interviewed dozens of industry and civic leaders. Their report is now complete.
On Wednesday, Dr. Kelly Bricker, who directed the assessment, will present the GSTC findings in a live Facebook webinar at 1 p.m. I hope you will join us at Facebook.com/ParkCityChamberofCommerce. You can read the full report at ParkCityChamber.com.
So, where do we stand? There are many positives in the report as well as areas that need our attention. The GSTC says we have “excellent performance” in 12 criteria and “good performance” in another 12. We rate as “needing improvement” in eight areas. Three criteria score as “moderate risk” and three as “high risk.”
The GSTC groups its 38 criteria into four pillars. We are doing best with socio-economic and environmental sustainability and need to improve on sustainable management and cultural sustainability.
Today, we will look at two.
- Environmental sustainability — Score: good
There are 12 GSTC criteria in this category. We rate as “excellent” in protecting sensitive environments, energy conservation, water quality, wastewater and light pollution; “good” in water stewardship, solid waste management, greenhouse gas emissions/climate mitigation and low impact transportation.
We “need improvement” in species management/exploitation and visitor management. We are at “moderate risk” in wildlife interaction. We have no criteria rated “high risk.”
The report recommends publishing guidelines that can reduce visitor impact, protect biodiversity in sensitive areas, and guide wildlife interactions/protections while increasing the visibility of these efforts.
- Destination stewardship management — Score: needs improvement
It is no surprise this area requires improvement since the need for a Park City/Summit County Stewardship Management Plan is why we asked for GSTC’s assessment. The report considers our decision to develop a plan, employing the Coraggio Group to engage the community and our hiring of a sustainability director as “improvements” in this area.
Of 11 criteria in this pillar, GSTC rates climate change adaptation and promotion/information as “excellent;” and destination management responsibility, enterprise management/sustainability standards, resident engagement, and planning regulations/development controls as “good.” However, we need to improve in our visitor engagement as well as monitoring visitor volume and activities. Destination management systems, monitoring/reporting, and risk/crisis management are rated as “risk to moderate risk.”
GSTC recommends several actions, including integrating comprehensive community plans with destination stewardship plans and holistic monitoring that embraces the visitor experience, environmental, social-economic, and cultural issues.
In my next piece, I will review the socio-economic and cultural sustainability categories and talk about what’s next for the plan’s development.
I’m very grateful to the 2,500-plus who responded to our recent survey. We will have more input opportunities ahead. I am excited to hear from you.
Don’t forget Dr. Bricker’s live presentation Wednesday, Feb. at 1 p.m. at Facebook.com/ParkCityChamberofCommerce.