While Earth Day is a globally recognized day, celebrated on April 22nd, the tenets of the unofficial holiday are something the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC) wants to champion every day.
Earth Day was first recognized in 1970 and marks the start of an environmental movement that brought awareness to the links between pollution and public health. While it was the consequences of consuming leaded gas in the years leading up to the 70’s that spurred this movement, it has grown to encompass other risks to our collective environment including air land, and water pollution.
It’s not hard to understand how the cleanliness of air, land, and water is imperative to the health of the world as a whole. And the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce has even more equity in this concept as it represents a region where those three resources are the very reason it exists as a destination.
Mt. Washington Valley is home to to an area that showcases New England’s highest peak, Mount Washington, that overlooks over 700,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest, a portion of the 136 mile Saco River, a portion of the Appalachian Trail as well as 48 4,000 foot hikes and over 2,000 miles of hiking and biking trails. So with all of those natural assets it’s a no brainer that the Mt. Washington Valley wants to celebrate the ethos behind Earth Day, every day.
Created by the chamber in 2020, the pledge is a ten-principle responsibility code that is a hybrid of the Icelandic Pledge, implemented and perpetuated by the eco-savvy tourism bureau in Iceland; the seven Leave No Trace Principles, a well-known list on how to behave when recreating in the outdoors; and the Granite State Promise, a credo on safe, and responsible travel to New Hampshire.
The MWV Pledge encompasses safety precautions and responsibility tenets that cover how to preserve the land and trails; how to treat one another in shared spaces; how to protect state’s wildlife and the indigenous flora and fauna, as well as how to preserve the state’s waterways. For everyone who enjoys hiking and biking in Mt. Washington Valley, boating and tubing down the Saco River, and enjoying outdoor recreation in White Mountain National Forest, following the MWV Pledge is imperative. Any time spent recreating in the national forest should always be guided by the principles of the MWV Pledge.
The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber also encourages everyone to learn more about the non-profits whose work focuses on land management. The valley is made up of many non-profits who work tirelessly to serve the community. Many of these non-profits focus on environmental initiatives including trail clean-up and management, land conservation, outdoor education, and more. Learn about them, support them, and enjoy their programming.
Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to visit www.mwvpledge.com, and sign their name to the pledge, and promise to preserve and protect the White Mountains, and its natural resources so we all can protect it for years to come. Businesses in the Mt. Washington Valley are supporting the MWV Pledge as well by posting materials that share the ten principles of the pledge on their restaurant tables, point-of-sale stations, information kiosks, bathrooms and more. It’s the MWVCC’s hope to spread this messaging far and wide to help reinforce outdoor etiquette, responsible tourism, and sustainable environmental practices.
Michelle Cruz, Assistant Executive Director of the MWVCC is “proud to be a part of such a thriving market for tourism, but with that comes great responsibility. The chamber is serious about pushing the MWV Pledge, and working toward making a community shift when it comes to sustainable tourism, that will hopefully be felt throughout the region, and the country. We at the chamber want to be a part of protecting all that Mount Washington encompasses in the valley.”
The MWV Pledge is just the start when it comes to MWVCC’s commitment to preserving and protecting the White Mountains. It invites the public to join them in celebrating Earth Day every day by learning more about the MWV Pledge, and signing their names to it, by visiting www.MWVPledge.com. Other chamber led initiatives perpetuating the conversation around sustainable and responsible tourism include “Learn from a Local, Live Like a Local,” and its “Hire a Guide.” Social media users can also explore the hashtag #mwvpledge on instagram and find posts pertaining to the MWV Pledge on both its instagram, and its Facebook.