Pinehurst Earns National Environmental Award

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) board of directors has selected Pinehurst Resort to receive its 2007 Presidentís Award for Environmental Stewardship.

The award will be presented during the President's Celebration at the 2007 GCSAA Education Conference, Feb. 23, 2007. The conference (Feb. 19-24) will be held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show (Feb. 22-24) at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The award was established in 1991 to recognize "an exceptional environmental contribution to the game of golf: a contribution that further exemplifies the golf course superintendent's image as a steward of the land."

Pinehurst Resort, a Club Corp property in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., is in its 12th year of the Safe Harbor Program, which is a collaboration with non-profit environmental group Environmental Defense and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is designed to help private landowners provide habitat for threatened and endangered species on a voluntary basis for legal protection that no additional restrictions from the Endangered Species Act will be placed on their land.

Pinehurst Resort became the first private landowner in the country to sign a voluntary agreement as part of the North Carolina Sandhills project in 1995. Pinehurst Resort actively manages pine forests on the golf property as habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker by removing understory plants, using prescribed burns for regeneration and optimizing the conditions of mature stands.

"The key role that Pinehurst Resort played in the initiation of the Safe Harbor program is something that the entire golf industry can be proud of," said GCSAA president, Sean A. Hoolehan, CGCS. "We applaud the Pinehurst golf course management staff for its effort in providing a nurturing habitat for the endangered woodpeckers."

As of 2004, 327 landowners have signed up to be part of 31 Safe Harbor agreements in 17 states protecting 3.5 million acres of habitat for 35 species.

"Since much of the habitat for endangered species in the U.S. is found on private land, it is imperative that we create incentive-based opportunities, such as the Safe Harbor program to bolster our conservation efforts and strengthen partnerships with landowners," said David P. Smith, deputy assistant secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. "Trust is a vital component. And Pinehurst was the first among hundreds of private landowners to play a leading role in making good things happen when stakeholders are engaged in a cooperative effort to protect imperiled species."

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