Cheers To ‘Creating a Sustainable Sedona’



January 3, 2020


January means festival season is coming –  VegFest, RunSedona, the Sedona International Film Festival (SIFF) and the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival are right around the corner. Our annual festivals make living in Sedona so much fun and attract sustainability-oriented visitors. They are also crucial economic drivers.  RunSedona, SIFF and the Sedona Mountain Bike Fest generate $13.7 million in local spending, dollars that continue to circulate through employee wages, business purchases and tax revenues.

This years’ visitors to Sedona events may have some different experiences due to the numerous Sustainable Tourism Plan (STP) tactics coming to fruition. For example, the VegFest on January 18 and 19 is the first community-wide zero waste event. A zero waste event is when the event producer works to reduce waste at an event.  Part of the effort involves selecting certain products to be utilized, like compostable napkins and reusable cups. Other large components of zero waste events are recycling, composting and using products and services that are environmental.  Waste is an issue, and it is everyone’s responsibility to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. The Sustainability Alliance is a resource for you to learn how to start living with zero waste efforts.

The City Council approved the STP in March, and we are working on many of the short-term tactics of the plan for the locals and ‘temporary’ locals, aka visitors. The Sedona Cares Pledge launched in October is a public affirmation of our drive to balance our quality of life and visitor experience. We ask all residents and visitors to sign on to its nine commitments. More than 50+ restaurants have joined the Straw-Free Sedona movement, helping reduce plastic waste. There are new water refill stations around town so everyone can reuse water bottles. They are located at the Chamber Visitor Center on 331 Forest Road, Sunset Park, Posse Ground Park and the community pool. Check out the newly launched mobile website to see all the water stations – and let us know if you want to add your station to the map.

Other early STP goals are also bearing fruit. The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund has created a position dedicated solely to raising money for trail preservation. The Sedona Trail Keepers program, supported by 40 local businesses, has already raised more than $310,000. More accommodations and restaurants have Sustainability Alliance certifications, such as Gerardo’s Italian Kitchen, the Chamber 2019 Sustainability Award Winner. Owner Gerardo Moceri is a straw-free supporter who also uses the Compost Crowd food collection service to reduce waste and he buys local produce from Verde Valley farmers. There are many others like Gerardo eagerly getting on board.

As we move into 2020, the Chamber is working with the Sustainable Tourism Action Team (STAT) of nonprofits, businesses and land managers. We are collaborating regularly on even more short- and medium-term sustainability solutions. This new year, I hope you think about how you can help move Sedona ahead. Local nonprofits are a major driver of sustainability action and could always use help.  Take a look at for updates on the status of other STP initiatives.

We’d love to invite you to attend the Community Pulse on January 15 at the Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa at 8:00 a.m.  This free event is open to all will feature updates on SIM projects, top city priorities and upcoming events. Here’s to a happy new year!

–Jennifer Wesselhoff