Taking Climate Best Practices from Coastal to Mountain Communities.

As we close out a devastating hurricane season, we’ve seen the significant impacts climate change can have on coastal communities. Meanwhile, as many mountain communities kick off a new ski season, it is important to reflect on the myriad similarities they share with coastal communities in terms of the challenges presented by a changing climate. Their abundance of natural resources, desirable weather, and access to outdoor amenities make them ideal places to live, work, and visit, but also put them at risk as the climate changes.

Sea level rise represents a constant and increasing threat to coastal communities and the impacts are widely publicized, especially given the related impacts to local residents and economies. Similarly, mountain resort towns are vibrant places that drive local economies and are heavily dependent on environmental conditions such as snowpack and forest health. While geographical areas may face varying impacts from climate change (i.e., snow and fires in mountain towns, hurricanes hitting coastal communities, severe droughts in arid climates, etc.), future planning must focus on enhanced resilience – understanding vulnerabilities and preparing for future impacts before they happen.

Like coastal communities, by developing adaptive business models and robust community plans, mountain ski and coastal communities can continue to build their capacity to address future climate challenges and thrive. Building adaptive capacity can often leverage existing systems cost effectively to build resiliency.

Throughout this year (and for much of our history), Brendle Group has been working to:

  • Highlight unique impacts of climate change to mountain communities.
  • Identify shared climate sensitivities across the tourism and recreation industries.
  • Support the climate mitigation efforts of tourism-driven economies.
  • Make mountain community challenges a part of the national dialogue on climate solutions and resilience.

A few ways we’ve been sharing these details include:

  • Presenting at the National Adaptation Forum, the American Planning Association’s National Conference, the National Ski Area’s Association (NSAA) Annual Conference.
  • Launching an adaptation toolkit as part of NSAA’s Climate Challenge.
  • Publishing articles in the NSAA Journal.

By taking a proactive role in managing and anticipating change, mountain communities are better positioned to respond to future climate challenges. So, next time you visit your favorite resort, think about how you can raise awareness for and support climate resiliency in your beloved mountain community.