The Claremont Hotel’s sustainability group comes to Claremont Canyon, by Steve Holtzman

Since being acquired by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in March 2014, the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa has stepped up its efforts to participate in conservation and stewardship activities in Claremont Canyon. Having long been the home of the Conservancy’s annual meetings, the Hotel, under the leadership of General Manager Len Czarnecki, has expanded its emphasis on sustainability. A dedicated Sustainability Committee, comprised of managers and colleagues from the hotel, club and spa, has assessed and prioritized projects to promote this mission in a range of ways, from an expanded focus on conservation and efficiency in the hotel’s operations to stepped-up involvement in community sustainability efforts.

Working with the Conservancy, the Hotel has embarked on a series of initiatives to further integrate it into the canyon environment. Among other things, the Hotel hopes to explore a direct trail link between its property and Garber Park, reducing guests’ and community members’ need to walk along Claremont Avenue to the park.

The hotel is also seeking to build participation by hotel staff in the monthly work days organized by the Conservancy and the Garber Park Stewards. Lauren Fong, a Sustainability Committee member and Claremont Spa Services Manager, is helping in Garber Park.

The Hotel is exploring further cooperative efforts with the Conservancy, the East Bay Regional Park District, and the University of California to expand and improve trails across, up and down the canyon. The Sustainability Committee’s vision includes fostering a complete trail network connecting the lower, upper, north and south sides of the canyon, simultaneously providing recreation opportunities for Hotel guests and increasing accessibility to the canyon for the broader community of walkers and hikers.

Potential projects include supporting the Conservancy’s and UC’s impending effort to extend the existing Lower Norfolk Trail and continue it eastwards to connect with the Willow Trail; creating switchbacks on the existing (and very steep) Panoramic Ridge trail (also known as the East-West Trail); and sponsoring the building of a new trail connecting the north and south sides of the canyon.

The Conservancy supports these initiatives and is working to connect EBRPD planning, Hotel and Conservancy funding and volunteer support.