Go Green on Your Next Visit to California
SACRAMENTO, CA - April 17, 2010 = It's easy to go green on your next California vacation, as many of the state's accommodations, restaurants and retail outlets, attractions and recreation companies, as well as transportation companies, have adopted eco-friendly practices.
“Being environmentally friendly and choosing sustainable options does not mean giving up amenities,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beteta of the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC), and National Chair of the U.S. Travel Association. “It's as simple as eating locally sourced foods; tasting award-winning wines at biodynamic wineries; treading lightly by choosing to explore part of your trip by foot, bike or public transportation; and taking part in our lodging industry's many green programs, such as recycling and light conservation.”
Visitors go green - and have fun doing it - by visiting the greenest museum in the world, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, which is topped with a living roof, insulated with recycled blue jeans and powered in part by solar panels. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Renzo Piano, the museum employs a wide range of energy-saving technologies and has received the highest possible certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum. Also in the San Francisco Bay Area Region, Half Moon Bay has launched an EcoTourism Map that features 45 hands-on adventures, such as dinner on a working farm, touring a wholesale flower farm, learning to make goat cheese and catching fresh salmon and Dungeness crab. Half Moon Bay is located 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of San Francisco. San Mateo County received the “As Fresh as it Gets” award for its 75 restaurants that regularly buy and serve the freshest locally grown produce and locally caught seafood. San Mateo is located 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of San Francisco. Open on Saturdays from June 26 through November 6, the Point Reyes Farmers' Market is the only all-local, all-certified organic produce market in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, offering everything from oysters to artisan cheeses. Point Reyes Station is located 42 miles (68 kilometers) northwest of San Francisco. In the city itself, Joie de Vivre is leading the green hospitality charge with the largest number of certified green hotels according to the standards set by San Francisco Green Business, the certifying body recognized by the city. In order to be recognized by the program, a business must meet environmental standards in four areas: waste reduction, water conservation, pollution prevention, and energy conservation.
The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa in California's Orange County Region was recently named to the Leadership Level of the California Green Lodging Program because of its efforts to minimize its carbon footprint, such as waste management, recycling, freshwater resource management and energy efficiency. The Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach opened “The Green Room,” environmentally friendly, Energy Star-rated laundry facilities, available free to guests. Huntington Beach is located 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of Los Angeles. Laguna Beach has a dedicated Web site for travelers going green at www.GreenLagunaBeach.com, which highlights eco-friendly lodging establishments, alternative ways of getting around town, itineraries that promote some of the green aspects of the area, and Eating Green and Shopping Green sections for restaurants that use locally produced food and stores that feature eco-friendly products. Laguna Beach is located 51 miles (82 kilometers) south of Los Angeles. Eco-Grounds, a specialty coffee store in Anaheim, works with growers who meet the environmental, social and economically responsible standards critical to sustainability, meaning that its products are organic, Rain Forest Alliance-certified and considered Fair Trade. Anaheim is located 27 miles (43 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles.
Santa Barbara makes it simple for visitors planning an eco-friendly vacation to the Central Coast Region at www.GreenSantaBarbara.com. The comprehensive Web site features self-guided tours and all things green, including transportation, sustainable agriculture, biodynamic wineries, nature preserves, ecotourism activities, itineraries and tips about how to eat like a locavore. Santa Barbara is located 95 miles (153 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles. Renowned chefs from across the country share their passion for fine dining and environmentally sustainable living at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's “Cooking for Solutions 2010,” May 21-22. Food Network's Guy Fieri, host of four cooking shows, will also participate as a celebrity guest emcee for the Sustainable Seafood Challenge that concludes the celebration. Monterey Bay is located 113 miles (182 kilometers) south of San Francisco. The Casa Ojai Inn is also dedicated to healthy, sustainable hospitality and makes every effort to create an eco-friendly experience without sacrificing any comforts. The resort recently became the first property in Ojai to receive the Green Eco-Leaf rating for its conservation programs. Ojai is located 83 miles (134 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
The Kelseyville Wine Company is Lake County's first custom-crush facility and first California Certified Organic Farmer winery, and processes wine grapes for the expanding organic and biodynamic wine market. The Kelseyville Olive Mill crushes and produces olive oil from their 10-acre, 3,000-tree olive orchard, which is located just behind the facility. Kelseyville is located 124 miles (200 kilometers) north of San Francisco. Mendocino, also located in the North Coast Region, is home to more certified organic wineries than any other county in the nation. Navarro Vineyards in Philo was founded in 1973 on a 910-acre sheep ranch in the Anderson Valley, a perfect location to grow its Gewurztraminer, as well as its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, White Riesling, Pinot Gris and Muscat Blanc. Mendocino is located 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of San Francisco. Eco-tourism also extends to the county's lodging as the Brewery Gulch Inn, which opened in 2001, is a member of the Green Hotels Association and features 150-year-old first-growth virgin redwood timbers that were salvaged from Mendocino's Big River. In Ukiah, the California Travel Industry Association last June named the Paul Dolan Vineyards Winery of the Year for its sustainable viticulture and business practices. Ukiah is located 115 miles (185 kilometers) north of San Francisco.
Soaring 130 feet above the ocean, the Pacific Wheel at Pacific Park in the Los Angeles County Region generates solar power while providing entertainment. Unveiled in 1998 as the world's first solar-powered Ferris wheel, it reaches nine stories high to offer extraordinary views of the Pacific Ocean from its location on the Santa Monica Pier. Big Blue Bus, Santa Monica's eco-friendly public transportation system, goes both within and outside of Santa Monica with its fleet that operates on alternative fuels and bio-diesel. Santa Monica also offers four different farmers' markets, where visitors can shop side-by-side with chefs helming the area's finest restaurants. Santa Monica is located 17 miles (27 kilometers) west of Los Angeles. Described as a cross between Whole Foods and 7-11, Locali Conscious Convenience in Los Angeles is a mom-and-pop shop meant for the new millennium. Locali offers value and sustainable food service with its full-service deli and healthy market. The small format and eco-friendly business packs a carefully selected inventory of natural and organic food, beverages and household supplies, as well as items for those with gluten and soy allergies, into 500 square feet of retail space. Los Angeles restaurants are also catering to the green demand, with Ciudad, Wilshire Restaurant, Luckyfish and Akasha eliminating bottled water shipped from far-flung locales and switching to their own filtration systems.
One of the more remarkable green buildings in California is the first Platinum LEED visitor center inside a national park. The Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, at the southwest entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park near Mineral, and located in the Shasta Cascade Region, has gained recognition for its attractive design and environmental advances. The building has high-efficiency, 10-ton ground source heating and cooling systems, a 30-kWh photovoltaic system, automated light controls, super insulation and incandescent-free lighting throughout the structure. Mineral is located 227 miles (365 kilometers) north of San Francisco.
In January, the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island received a “Two Palm Leadership Level,” the highest level of certification in the California Green Lodging Program - making it the most sustainable meeting and conference hotel in San Diego. The accolades continue in the San Diego County Region with the Blue Marble Spa at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina, named one of the “Top 10 Green Spas and Resorts” in the world in December 2009 by Organic Spa, the nation's leading sustainable lifestyle magazine. That same month, the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park was awarded a LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance certification for its efficiency in energy use, lighting, water and material use, as well as incorporating a variety of sustainable strategies. Visitors to the San Diego Botanic Garden can take hands-on green and sustainable classes, such as “Bye Bye Grass” October 5-6, when experts will discuss the best methods for eliminating your lawn and utilizing drought-tolerant ground covers and hardscape options - all while using the Botanic Garden as an outside classroom. Well into its second decade of commitment to reducing its impact on the natural environment, the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego earned its first environmental award in 1996 and today boasts a “Green Team” composed of staff from entry-level to management, focused on helping the hotel meet the 2015 Hyatt Earth goals. San Diego is located 122 miles (196 kilometers) south of Los Angeles.
The Winterhawk Winery, located in the Central Valley Region near Fairfield, is doing its part to improve conditions in the Suisun Creek watershed program by enrolling in Fish Friendly Farming. An environmental certification program for vineyard, orchard and agricultural properties, Fish Friendly Farming provides an incentive-based method for creating and sustaining environmental quality and habitat on private land. The practices help recover Coho salmon and steelhead trout populations in northern California. Hawks and owls also contribute an important environmentally friendly service to vineyard management by hunting gophers, eliminating the need for bait or chemicals that could be harmful to the environment. Fairfield is located 46 miles (74 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco. The University of California, Davis recently celebrated the grand opening of its new Conference Center, adjacent to the new Hyatt Place Hotel, a Gold LEED-certified building that can accommodate zero-waste events in an inviting and innovative setting. Davis is located 73 miles (117 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.
In the High Sierra Region, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area boasts the city's first registered LEED building. The deluxe 1,336-square-foot, three-bedroom cabin at the picturesque Tamarack Lodge sets a precedent for environmentally friendly building practices in Mammoth Lakes and is available for vacation rental. Mammoth Lakes is located 309 miles (497 kilometers) north of Los Angeles. Through the years, Lake Tahoe has developed a reputation as a national model in environmental efforts. A presidential forum in 1997 and annual summits with state and federal leaders have assured major funding to help sustain the lake's clarity. Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe saw big returns when it incorporated sustainability investments, including a 35 percent reduction in electricity consumption. On the north shore, the Hyatt Regency was recently recognized with the “Award of Excellence” by Keep the Sierra Green, a regional green business recognition program, for leading the area in sustainable business practices. Lake Tahoe is located 200 miles (322 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco. Over the last decade, DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite has become an industry leader in serving sustainable, local, natural and organic foods in Yosemite National Park. Guests can sample delectable dishes with such offerings at the famed Ahwahnee, Yosemite's four-diamond National Historic Landmark hotel. Yosemite National Park is located 207 miles (333 kilometers) east of San Francisco.
At the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, located in the Deserts Regions, two recently purchased buses now use biodiesel fuel, which is a domestic, renewable fuel derived from natural oils, such as soybean oil. The Tramway's other diesel engines have been converted to biodiesel fuel, including back-up engines, tractors and generators. The Tramway also uses Shred-It, a mobile paper shredding and recycling company that has helped them save more than 40 trees by recycling their office paper and newspapers. Palm Springs is located 107 miles (172 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
Appealing to both residents and visitors, the Roseville Utility Exploration Center in the Gold Country Region opened two years ago and uses high-tech, hands-on exhibits on a variety of topics ranging from electricity and water conservation to reducing solid waste and storm water pollution. Center attendees can expect to crawl through a mountain of trash and come out cleaner. They can also stroll through the Green House to learn how they can save money and the earth at the same time. The exhibits are designed for both adults and children and are open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays. Family exploration labs introduce environmental concepts to children. There are also green workshops for homeowners, businesses and the professional trades. Roseville is located 104 miles (167 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.
Conveniently located between Los Angeles and Palm Springs in the Inland Empire Region, the boutique Dynasty Suites Redlands property is an oasis in the historic city of Redlands. This green hotel adheres to an environmental policy and features green rooms with environmental products. They've also established on/off schedules for energy controls and programmable guestroom thermostats, along with low-wattage lighting. Redlands is located 63 miles (101 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
CTTC is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs - in partnership with the state's travel industry - that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to CTTC, travel and tourism expenditures total $96.7 billion annually in California, $16.7 billion of which is international, support jobs for 924,000 Californians and generate $5.8 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about CTTC and for a free California Visitor's Guide as well as California Road Trips, go to www.VisitCalifornia.com.