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A Utah distillery is giving a lot to help preserve land in its own backyard.
Famed Park City-based High West Distillery is committing $1 million over three years to protect the lands of the West and its people, according to a news release.
The “Protect the West” initiative coincided with the relaunch of High West’s Campfire seasonal whisky, which the brand considers one of its “most unique and iconic expressions”.
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The inaugural donation of $150,000 will be split between three organizations: Protect Our Winters, American Prairie and Wildland Firefighter Foundation as wildfires continue to scorch the American West.
These organizations address three critical areas of concern for the distillery, including fighting forest fires, protecting winters, and preserving land and wildlife.
High West has already donated over $1 million to nonprofits since opening in 2007.
He started doing this after recognizing higher temperatures, severe droughts, drier forests and reduced snowpack in the region.
“We’ve just felt a growing urgency over the past two years to do more.”
High West’s general manager, Daniel Scher, told Fox News Digital that the commitment grew out of this recognition of heightened danger.
“The West is our home,” he said. “We have always been committed to supporting organizations that protect the West and have given accordingly, but we have felt a growing urgency over the past two years to do more.”
More than three million acres of US land have burned so far in 2022 — an amount nearly the size of Connecticut, according to the news release.
Schear noted that some wildfires have occurred within “miles” of High West properties; the group therefore felt it was time to “redouble our efforts” to take action.
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“That’s what the promise of a million dollars to protect the West is for,” he said.
“We are thrilled to partner with organizations that are equally passionate about preserving this beautiful place, and we hope that by doing this…we can inspire and reward others to do more too.”
The General Manager mentioned that West is loved by all for its natural beauty – a feature that High West has enjoyed as the distillery sits at the foot of a 10,000 foot high mountain peak.
Schear urged the public to think twice before leaving fires unattended or grabbing a plastic water bottle, and to consider the greater impacts those choices could have on America’s beautiful landscape.
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In honor of Campfire Whiskey’s national comeback, High West has pledged to donate $50,000 to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation alone, while matching consumer donations of up to an additional $50,000.
“For us, this issue goes far beyond bottle sales,” Schear said.
“We don’t want to reduce our support for the West just based on how many people buy our products.”
“We’ll be flooding our channels with reminders that you can drink from a campfire, so you don’t need to light one when visiting the West this season,” he also said.
Future donations will be announced over the three-year period as High West identifies and supports more organizations with the same goal of protecting West Lands.
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“We hope this will inspire change,” Schear said. “Our house is in danger. There is no clearer way to put it.”
He added: “Other brands, other non-profits, visitors to High West – it’s time to say we want to work together to protect the West.”
Wildland Firefighter Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping injured firefighters and helping the families of firefighters lost in the line of duty.
Protect Our Winters is a community of athletes, scientists, creative professionals, and business leaders who seek to advance nonpartisan climate change policies to protect the American landscape.
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American Prairie is a group committed to creating the largest nature preserve in the United States by purchasing habitat that connects existing public lands for wildlife conservation and public access.
Donations to these organizations, as part of the larger “Protect the West” initiative, are accepted on highwest.com.