Park City DNSTOCK_ja_0011.JPG - The Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau is launching a second-annual grant program to help fund programs and initiatives that will support Summit County's Sustainable Tourism Plan.

Grant program launched to support sustainable tourism initiatives across Summit County

By Logan Stefanich,
March 28, 2024

PARK CITY — The Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau is, for the second year, launching a grant program for programs and initiatives that support sustainable tourism in the area.

Summit County's Sustainable Tourism Plan was developed in 2022 and this is the second year officials have announced funding for it.

"We created a sustainable tourism plan for the community of Park City and Summit County, and it's basically a long-range plan that's designed to balance a thriving tourism economy with all of the social and environmental pressures that come along with it; and making sure we're supporting the social and environmental needs of an area that does have such a robust tourism economy," said Morgan Mingle, director of sustainable tourism at Park City Chamber and Visitors Bureau.

The grant program allows applicants to request up to $30,000 to fund eligible sustainable tourism projects. Mingle said the rationale behind the grant is to support small businesses and departments that are part of larger businesses, to increase sustainability practices or create new initiatives.

These projects and initiatives across the tourism industry can include community-building festivals and events, outdoor recreation, businesses and business districts.

Mingle said one example from the program last year was the development of a website showing the status of trails throughout Summit County.

"I think locals had a hard time of knowing what organization was managing what trail and what website you should go to if you wanted to check those conditions, and now they're all feeding into the backend of one website. And I think it's a really great example of stepping back, recognizing that the way we were communicating that information might've been confusing and just cutting through the noise and saying 'OK, let's all work together, let's build one website that we can send people to,'" Mingle said.

In total, last year's grant awarded 24 recipients (of 42 applicants) with funding for sustainable tourism projects.

The Park City Chamber and Visitors Bureau appoints a committee to vet applications and score the submissions based on a standardized rubric. Grants are awarded based on application scores, availability of grant funding and final approval from the Park City Chamber and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors.

Aside from environmental sustainability, Mingle said the grant is also focused on funding social sustainability initiatives and elevating local culture. Last year's grant helped fund the Latino Arts Festival and a film series hosted by Park City Film highlighting the culture of eastern Summit County.

"Protecting and caring for our natural environment is essential for promoting sustainable outdoor recreation, ensuring the long-term resilience of our community and economy," said Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO at the Park City Chamber and Visitors Bureau. "Through the Sustainable Tourism Grant, qualifying organizations are given the opportunity to embark on a transformative journey toward a more mindful and sustainable approach to tourism, thus making sustainable tourism efforts a communitywide effort."

Mingle said the chamber encourages small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as nonprofit organizations, to apply for the grant.

Applications for the grant are now open and will close on April 24. Applications can be submitted here.