Red Rock Country is Honoring Earth Month
THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
April 22, 2022
Sign up during the Sedona Chamber April membership drive! Get your business featured in guidebooks, Sedona Chamber communications, gain access to business development advice, and connect with other businesses and our amazing community events. Be sure to join by the end of April to be included in the guidebooks. The Sedona Chamber is working for businesses and with the community to make Sedona the best place to live, work, play and visit! Go to JoinSedonaChamber.com.
Today is Earth Day around the world, a day that deeply resonates as we strive to honor and protect our stunning landscapes and preserve our small-town quality of life. As we survey the forces affecting Sedona, we see that travel around the country continues to set records with no end in sight and the Phoenix area continues its record-setting population growth. In this environment, sustainability becomes an even higher priority community mission, offering opportunities for us and our families to take responsibility and action.
This month, I am reviewing the updated tactics from the Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan. There are solid results to report: 111 Sedona businesses are now listed as certified sustainable, having reduced non-renewable energy and materials, and minimized pollution and waste. The total number of plastic water bottles saved by our water dispensing stations has exceeded 30,000. The newly launched Sedona Shuttle to four popular trailheads recorded 8,500 boardings in its first four days. Our Trail Keepers program has helped the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund provide money and workers who have brushed more than 140 miles of trails this season, installed two new kiosks and 76 new signs, and improved more than 1,700 feet of retaining walls.
These accomplishments, and our ongoing work to mitigate the impact of OHVs and helicopter noise, are a good start, but they are only a beginning. Sedona needs an expanding, persistent community effort over many years to achieve – and maintain – our goals of a pristine environment, a healthy economy, an excellent resident quality of life, and a visitor experience that includes recruiting our guests to be part of the solution.
Last week, I lauded the impact of volunteers with the Chamber and throughout Sedona’s nonprofit community. They are also essential to our sustainability and provide an avenue for you to do your part.
For example, on March 22, Stewards of Sedona volunteers packed out over 1,000 pounds of litter from 89A between Page Springs and Lower Red Rock Loop Road. Volunteers retrieved beer bottles and cans, facemasks, shoes, underwear, hats, tires, vapes, and an alarming number of cigarette and cigar butts (thousands), and found that much of the sheer weight and nearly 70% of the items were from landscaping and construction vehicles hauling uncovered loads. By monitoring the type and quantity of trash removal, volunteers help Sedona track whether educational efforts are working and – in the case of uncovered loads – can alert law enforcement to an issue that needs increased attention. It is all the result of individual Sedonans getting involved.
The next Stewards of Sedona cleanup at Crescent Moon, Secret Slick Rock and Chavez is April 26 at 8:30 a.m. Why not sign up and get out there? You will feel you’ve done your part, learn more about the impact of irresponsible recreation on our environment and the need for visitor education, and meet people who can connect you to even more service opportunities.
Motivated to act right away? The Oak Creek Watershed Council, whose volunteer Ambassador program has removed almost 70,000 pounds of trash, has an Oak Creek Canyon cleanup today. If you can’t get there today, sign up for future efforts.
As long as we volunteer, programs like these can continue. Let your friends, neighbors, and colleagues see you as out there being part of Sedona’s sustainability and make sustainable action part of what it means for you and your family to be true Sedonans.
–Michelle Conway, Interim President/CEO
Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau