Respect the Mountains organised the Envirotrek clean-ups

Respect the Mountains organised the Envirotrek clean-ups

An organisation dedicated to preserving the world’s mountain environments has been rescued after it was forced to fold when it failed to secure a European Union grant.

The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation has taken over Respect the Mountains, which organised upland clean-up days in Britain.

Respect the Mountains ceased operations in September, but its takeover by the federation, better known by its French initials UIAA, means it can continue its role promoting sustainable mountain tourism and undertake practical and educational work to protect the world’s mountains.

The UIAA said: “It was a huge disappointment to come to terms with the fact that Respect the Mountains was no longer sustainable in its current form in June 2015.

“The collective efforts of the Respect the Mountains community over the previous 10 years have provided so much value to the mountains and we as an organisation remained true to our vision and missing to create a more sustainable mountain tourism industry.

“This is why the leadership of Respect the Mountains has decided to embark on a new adventure and chapter in its life and continues operations under the UIAA – the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation.

“The UIAA proposed to take the Respect the Mountains vision and mission further with the same ethos and motivation to make a positive impact on the mountain tourism industry.

“This is an exciting time for the organisation, and existing partners are enthusiastic and committed to take the organisation, values and reputation to the global stage.”

Respect the Mountains’ headquarters have now moved from Amsterdam to Bern in the heart of the European Alps, which the UIAA said is crucial to take notice of and listen to mountain communities and their needs and to be able to better serve them in their pursuit to become more sustainable.

The organisation was behind the popular Envirotrek series of clean-up and activity events in Europe and the UK, which took place in Snowdonia and the Peak District.

Respect the Mountains director Aukje van Gerven said in June: “At the end of 2014, when resources were already beyond stretched, the organisation invested hundreds of volunteer hours into the application of a three-year European Union subsidy.

“To remain in operation during these past months has been hugely challenging and on hearing that the organisation was unsuccessful in winning this grant, the board of directors decided that as of 1 September, active operations are no longer sustainable and the only way to fulfil our commitment and integrity to our partners, freelancers, volunteers and community is to cease operations in our current form.”

Outdoor brands Keen and Bergans of Norway were sponsors of the Envirotrek series.

More details of the revamped organisation are on the UIAA Respect the Mountains website.

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