Next Monday’s 60th Annual Fourth of July Fireworks celebration in Gunnison, CO will be, to our knowledge, the nation’s first carbon-neutral celebration of its kind. Thanks to the forward-thinking actions of the Gunnison Rotary Club, the Gunnison independence day celebration includes a carbon-offsetting program to account for the carbon emissions created by the fireworks display, the participants’ travel to and from the event, and the refreshments and entertainment provided that evening. Thousands of locals and visitors make the annual pilgrimage to the Gunnison Rotary Club’s fireworks celebration, which raises funds for college scholarships and local charitable causes. In honor of the 60th anniversary of the celebration, the Rotary Club is planning its largest fireworks display ever. Gunnison Rotary Club president, Mike Callihan, has worked with Carbonfund.org for several years to offset emissions from the Gunnison Car Show event, this year to be held August 19-21. Mike approached us with the idea to calculate emissions from a fireworks display, and he did the bulk of the research to determine the amount of carbon dioxide generated by the pounds of fireworks to be used at this year’s 60th annual display. “There’s nothing neutral when it comes to Americans celebrating the 4th of July – we all love the fireworks. But now, with Carbonfund.org’s help, our Rotary Club is going carbon neutral,” says Mike. “We’re leaving in all the fun and fireworks, but offsetting the carbon impact. It’s the responsible way to celebrate our nation’s birthday. Our national goal should be to make every 4th of July carbon neutral within 5 years. It’s a simple thing, really, but one with an incredible impact. Over 235 years ago, we declared our independence from foreign tyranny. Let’s now declare our independence from the tyranny of carbon!” All the festivities will be held at Jorgensen Park with live music, a beer garden and food court launching at 4:30 p.m. At dusk, a look back 60 years reveals Gunnison as it was in 1951 by Dr. Duane Vandenbusche, an entertaining local historian and professor at Western State College of Colorado. Military veterans will be honored just before the fireworks fly at 9:15 p.m. Donations are encouraged to cover costs and raise money for Rotary Club projects. Gunnison-Crested Butte is nestled among almost two million acres of pristine wilderness in southwest Colorado. Winter sports enthusiasts know the area for its world-class alpine skiing and snowboarding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing. Gunnison-Crested Butte is also a haven for outdoor summer activities. In the warmer months, visitors can choose from recreational activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding. For more about the year-round events in the progressive community of Gunnison-Crested Butte, check out their tourism association site for great travel planning ideas.