American Birkebeiner

The American Birkebeiner thinks Green – the initiative that cares about the environment

Introducing Birkie Green: embracing Sustainability & Environmental Responsibility

More and more events around the world are embracing new action plans that keep an eye on the environment and make their events as catalysts for a new sensibility for what surrounds us and how not to damage it. It is also the case of the North American Worldloppet race, American Birkebeiner that launched a green project.

At the core, the Birkie lifestyle is about embracing an active lifestyle in the great outdoors.  In fact, one of the core tenets of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation’s mission is to serve as good stewards of the over 100 kilometer American Birkebeiner Trail.  Knowing we have a responsibility to take the best possible care of this amazing resource, and the environment in general, we developed the new Birkie Green initiative.

American Birkie OC

They also state to be committed to making choices to inspire and implement solutions to address changing climates; to implementing sustainability practices whenever possible; to creating solutions to support the environment and use of the land; and to consciously choose like-minded vendors and partners who demonstrate green and sustainability issues.

American Birkebeiner – @ James Netz

Knowing our events place thousands of participants on the Birkie Trail each year, we’ve already begun to make choices, both large and small, to make a difference in our collective impact.  Thanks to the support of thousands of skiers, we now have over 8500 reusable Birkie gear bags in use, reducing thousands of plastic bags in our landfills.  We’ve installed solar lighting at aid stations; built the Samuel C. Johnson Family Outdoor Center at the OO Trailhead, Seeley, WI, with a passive solar design to capture natural heat and light; installed a water bottle refill station at the OO Trailhead to eliminate the use of plastic bottles; installed an electric car charger; have moved from plastic cups at events to beverages in recyclable cans; have posted maps at all trailheads vs. printed options; provide all race guides as digital options; are actively recycling and composting at all events; and continue to provide a virtual race bag to eliminate the unnecessary use of paper and plastic waste, to name just a few. 

Ben Popp, American Birkie CEO

For the first time ever, the Birkie Trail Run Festival in September of 2019 was completely cup-less.  Participants brought their own water vessel or had the option of securing a reusable and collapsible cup, eliminating thousands of cups from landfills.  The Birkie Tour, a Worldloppet qualifying event, will also be cup-less for the first time in 2020.  Participants will receive a stainless steel, carabiner handled mug for use at aid stations.

The Birkie Green logo will be found at all future Birkie events identifying spaces and places were green initiatives are underway.  While the Birkie Green program is in its infancy, the Birkie Organising Committee is pleased by initial progress and the excitement surrounding the program by race participants, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, and the greater Nordic community. 

For additional information on Birkie Green, please visit the Birkie website

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