Round Valley seen as Park City’s carbon sponge | ParkRecord.com

Round Valley seen as Park City’s carbon sponge

Officials want help planting a few hundred trees in open space

by Jay Hamburger
THE PARK RECORD

Round Valley is a popular recreation area that stretches from the edge of Park Meadows toward U.S. 40. Park City plans to plant trees in Round Valley on Sunday as part of City Halls wide-ranging environmental program. The trees will include willows, dogwoods and other species native to the region.

Park City leaders want Round Valley to become a sponge soaking up carbon emissions from the atmosphere as City Hall continues to pursue an ambitious environmental agenda.

The municipal government on Sunday plans a tree-planting event meant to further vegetate the vast tract of City Hall-owned open space that stretches from the edge of Park Meadows toward U.S. 40. Officials want volunteers to assist with the planting.

Celia Peterson, the environmental sustainability project manager for City Hall, said a few hundred trees are anticipated to be planted on Sunday, a combination of willows, dogwoods and other species. She said the species are native to the region and need less water than others to maintain. The few hundred trees that will be planted on Sunday are a part of a City Hall initiative to plant up to 500 across the municipal government's land holdings in 2017, she said.

Utah State University Extension, which offers programs in fields like natural resources, is assisting City Hall, including providing information about tree species that sequester, or hold, carbon from the atmosphere. The Summit Land Conservancy is also involved. Peterson said the parties involved plan to monitor the trees to learn which ones are best for Park City.

"We know that trees and soil-management techniques do soak up carbon, but this is all a big experiment," she said.

The plantings are part of City Hall's wide-ranging environmental program. Leaders have set a goal of net-zero carbon emissions communitywide by 2032 and by 2022 for City Hall's own operations. A net-zero goal does not call for the elimination of emissions but instead involves a combination of reducing emissions and offsetting those that remain.

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Park City leaders see climate change as someday threatening the ski industry that drives the local economy. City Hall has pursued an environmental program involving a fleet of vehicles running on cleaner-burning energies, green upgrades like solar panels for municipal buildings and expanding the transit and trails systems.

"Not only is Park City looking at ways to reduce our carbon emissions, but we're also exploring how to increase the amount of carbon that our lands soak up; our carbon sinks," an announcement of the tree-planting event says. "Plants and trees are one of nature's best carbon sinks, as they capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and lock it away from the atmosphere for some time."

In selecting Round Valley, City Hall has picked a large piece of land that is set aside as open space. Leaders over the years acquired a patchwork of parcels totaling more than 1,000 acres in Round Valley that, combined, offer year-round recreation popular with hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers and snowshoers. It is also an off-leash area for dog owners.

The tree planting is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. People should meet at the Quinn's trailhead close to the Park City Ice Arena. City Hall discourages people from bringing dogs or small children since the work is described as moderately strenuous. Officials encourage people to bring a shovel, gloves and snacks.

For more information, contact Peterson at celia.peterson@parkcity.org. More information is also available on the City Hall website, http://www.parkcity.org. The direct link is: http://parkcity.org/Home/Components/News/News/18356/23?backlist=%2f.

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