Gateway National Recreation Area

Gateway National Recreation AreaThe first Climate Friendly Parks workshop was held at Gateway National Recreation Area in June 2003. Gateway's urban setting and heavy local visitation enables the park to reach a large number of people each year and spread an important message about waste reduction, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas abatement. For example, educational outreach to the surrounding communities in and around Jamaica Bay and Staten Island in New York, and Sandy Hook in New Jersey, has always been important to Gateway staff. Now when school aged children visit the National Parks of New York Harbor Education Center at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, they are able to gauge their recycling knowledge while enjoying their lunch. Lively graphics on each lunchroom table provide a maze of choices that students can work through to better understand issues dealing with sustainability. A colorful recycling and trash station gives students the opportunity to see firsthand how their choices can make a difference. The station illustrates the benefits of making smart decisions about products that have less packaging and/or are recyclable. This is reinforced by asking the visiting children to sort out the recycled goods from their finished lunches, then weigh and record their trash load prior to disposing of it so school groups' total trash weights can be compared in an on-going competition.

Green procurement, sustainability education, concessions environmental management, and incorporation of environmental management into project management are priority strategies at Gateway National Recreation Area, where rehabilitation of Jamaica Bay Visitor Contact Station exemplifies the highest standards of environmentally sensitive construction and park operations. Geothermal and passive solar heating complement natural daylighting, native plantings, and energy-saving features that will earn the facility the first LEED certification in the NPS Northeast Region. Park employees support Gateway conservation efforts by attending brown bag lunch sessions that focus on green topics. Some participate in greening contests where winners receive an "energy conservation hour" time off award.

The Gateway Criteria Air Pollutant and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory (PDF 110 kb) was developed to provide an understanding of park emission sources and a baseline by which future emission reductions can be measured. The Gateway Climate Action Plan (PDF 728 kb) identifies the strategies the park intends to implement in order to achieve these reductions.