Milestone 2 - Complete a GHG Emission Inventory and Collect Baseline Data

Portion 1: Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory Using the CLIP Tool

Similar to an energy audit before retrofitting a building, an emission inventory helps parks identify and measure GHG emissions and sources by activity. The CFP program has developed the Climate Leadership in Parks (CLIP) Tool to help your park develop its emissions inventory. This tool takes the data you regularly collect on activities within the park that produce emissions (e.g., energy consumption and waste production) and converts those numbers into an emissions estimate (the compilation of all emission estimates produces an emission inventory). Detailed technical support is always available at Webinar-based training is offered throughout the year; please register at

Preparing a baseline emission inventory requires the coordination of the various park stakeholders including park staff, concessioners and those responsible for other permitted activities within the parks boundaries. The data collected from these various groups should be entered into Module 1 of the CLIP Tool to produce the park’s baseline emission inventory. Producing a baseline emission inventory generally follows the following six steps.

  1. Step 1: Understand Your Boundaries
  2. Step 2: Collect Activity Data
  3. Step 3: Produce a Draft Emission Inventory using Module 1 of the CLIP Tool
  4. Step 4: Two-Person Park Review and Draft Baseline Emission Inventory Submittal
  5. Step 5: Revise, Finalize, and Submit the Completed Baseline Emission Inventory
  6. Step 6: Update Baseline Emission Inventories and Produce Subsequent Inventories

Step 1. Understand Your Boundaries

Before completing a baseline emission inventory, individuals responsible for the inventory should familiarize themselves with emissions, emission sources, and factors that influence the scope of the emission inventory (e.g., baseline year, entities and sources included, data required, etc.). A data collection checklist is provided for your help on page 6 of the Climate Friendly Parks Program Guidance

Understand that your park boundaries include anything that occurs within your designated park boundaries, as well as activities outside of park boundaries that contribute to the success of overall park operations. For example, a leased headquarters building located in a nearby town needs to be included in your inventory. Please collaborate with your concessionaires and partners to the best extent possible to include this information in your CLIP Tool.

Step 2. Collect Activity Data

Proper data collection techniques are fundamental to producing a complete and accurate emission inventory because the results of the emission inventory can only be as strong as the data used to produce the emission estimates.

Emissions are estimated for each emission source using data on the activities that produce the emissions (these data are known as “activity data.”)  A full listing of all activity data needed to produce a complete emission inventory is contained within CLIP Tool Module 1 on the “Printable Activity Data Sheet.” 

Most data requested by the CLIP Tool are commonly collected for other purposes and should be readily available through the appropriate contacts. Common contacts include the facilities manager, chief of maintenance, air quality or natural resource specialists, transportation and/or fleet managers, GIS specialists, fire or forest management personnel, and administrative staff. Common data resources include Energy Management Data reports, FAST and GSA fleet reports, Integrated Solid Waste Alternatives Program (ISWAP) plans, Environmental Management System (EMS) plans, transportation studies or Transportation Management Plans, General Management Plans, data housed by the GIS team, even monthly energy bills.

IMPORTANT: Individuals collecting the data should record any assumptions and data gaps in the Notes/Summary section of Module 1 of the CLIP Tool, and provide contact information for individuals who have supplied activity data in the Contact Information Sheet. This information should be maintained for validation or certification processes, and to assist individuals conducting future emissions inventories.

Step 3. Produce a Draft Baseline Emission Inventory Using Module 1 of the CLIP Tool

After collecting activity data, the individual conducting the inventory should enter the activity data into the CLIP Tool by emission source according to the instructions provided on the Climate Friendly Parks website. Users should enter activity data for all sources included in the inventory for all entities (e.g., park operations, concessioners, other permitted activities) participating in the inventory and review the emission results presented in each Source Sheet and the Summary Sheet. Users should detail assumptions and data gaps in the Notes Sheet and provide contact information for individuals who have supplied activity data in the Contact Information Sheet.

Step 4. Two-Person Park Review and Draft Basline Emission Inventory Submittal

After completing a draft emission inventory, another NPS employee must review the CLIP data and agree with any assumptions the person conducting the inventory used during the process. Once the inventory has been reviewed by both the person conducting the inventory and a secondary staff member, the completed Module 1 file along with remaining questions and a list of data gaps and assumptions should be emailed to Please note that all required sections for the CLIP Tool 1 listed in the chart above must be completed. When possible, the CLIP Tool results should also be reviewed by additional park personnel, such as superintendent, concessioner management, and green team members.

Step 5. Revise, Finalize, and Submit the Final Baseline Emission Inventory

A CFP contractor will then review your submitted CLIP inventory and correspond with you to resolve any data quality issues or gaps in your inventory. After this review process, your CLIP inventory will be resubmitted to with the subject line "Ready for WASO Review." The WASO CFP team will provide comments on the draft CLIP inventory within two weeks of receipt. If the inventory is complete and accurate, it will then become final. If changes need to be made, the park will have the opportunity to revise the emission inventory.

Step 6. Update Baseline Emission Inventories and Produce Subsequent Inventories

After completing a baseline emission inventory, CFP member parks are asked to produce emission inventories each subsequent year. CFP member parks should work to fill any data gaps identified and improve assumptions made during the baseline emission inventory year.

If data are acquired for activities that occurred during the baseline year that weren’t available when the baseline inventory was developed, the baseline emission inventory should be updated to account for the recently acquired data. As an example, if the baseline emission inventory did not include emissions for non-road equipment despite the park’s use of this equipment because data were unavailable, but data are found during subsequent inventories, the baseline inventory should be updated to account for non-road equipment.

If the park takes on new activities that produce emissions that did not occur during the baseline emission inventory year, these emission activities should be included in subsequent emission inventories. Emission reduction goals the park establishes based on the baseline emission inventory year apply to new activities. As an example, if a park that has chosen to reduce its baseline emissions of 100 MTCE by 10 percent then builds facilities that increase its baseline emissions by 20 MTCE, it will have to reduce its emissions by 25 percent to reach the emission reduction goal of 90 MTCE.

Portion 2: Identify Key Sustainability/Climate Change Challenges

After gaining an understanding of your park’s total GHG emissions, it is important to search for the key sustainability issues in order to leverage funding and develop meaningful priorities. Although park units have many of the same challenges, each park unit will differ as to its top challenges. For example, an urban park unit might be connected to public transportation and an extensive bike trail system, while a more remote park unit may only be visited if a person has his or her own vehicle.

Developing proper solutions requires a complex understanding of baseline conditions and challenges. In this way, actions can be prioritized to provide the largest "return on investment" (ROI) and overall sustainability benefits at the park. In order to further identify each park unit’s key challenges a checklist has been provided, and a conference call will focus on reviewing the CLIP Tool, the sustainability assessment checklist on page 9 of the Climate Friendly Parks Program Guidance, and park feedback. Once the key challenges are identified, they will be used to tailor the workshop agenda to address the park unit's specific needs.

Portion 3: EMS Overview, Review, & Pre-workshop Preparation

In cases where park units choose to revitalize their EMS to include CFP requirements in lieu of an Action Plan, it is important to review the elements of the existing EMS to determine if or which elements need to be added. Please see Appendix E in the Climate Friendly Parks Program Guidance for a sample table of contents and review the underlined elements required to receive CFP certification.

What Value Does an Environmental Management System Add?
An Environmental Management System (EMS) provides an organization with a structured approach to manage its environmental aspects. An approach that recognizes the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and frequent communication between staff, management, and the Environmental Management or Green Team to produce on-the-ground results. The EMS framework is built upon the common management cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act, which provides a solid platform to implement and monitor Climate Friendly Park Action Items. The goal of streamlining the CFP Action Plan with an EMS is to reduce workload, ensure action items become part of a prioritized work plan, and use the EMS to track and monitor improvements.