Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park-Seattle
About the Park
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park preserves the story of the 1897-98 stampede to the Yukon gold fields and Seattle’s role in this event. The park facilities are located in the historic Pioneer Square area of Seattle in the former Cadillac Hotel.
Climate change presents significant risks and challenges to the National Park Service and specifically to Klondike-Seattle. Scientists cannot predict with certainty the general severity of climate change nor its impacts. Average global temperatures on the Earth’s surface have increased about 1.1°F since the late 19th century, and the 10 warmest years of the 20th century all occurred in the last 15 years.
At Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, increasing temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns may alter the very setting of the park. The elevation of Pioneer Square area of Seattle is only 18 ft. above current sea level. Since the park tells the story of the Pioneer Square National Historical District, any impacts to cultural resources due to a rise in water tables or changes in precipitation could impact the park’s interpretative story. In addition, key views for the historic district include the Olympic mountain range, where climate impacts to glaciers and snowpacks will affect the views from Pioneer Square.
This Action Plan identifies steps that Klondike can undertake to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions to mitigate its impact on climate change. The plan presents the park’s emission reduction goals, and associated reduction actions to achieve the park’s goals. While the plan provides a framework needed to meet the park’s emission reductions, it is not intended to provide detailed instructions on how to implement each of the proposed measures. As part of the park’s Environmental Management System, Klondike will be partnering with other area parks, both NPS sites and local park systems in the commitment to excellence in environmental management and education. The park will work in the context of the Organic Act, and other national and international environmental responsibilities. Klondike has responsibilities to support and provide leadership to the Pacific Northwest National Parks in carrying out their environmental management. The park will also be an environmental leader in the municipality of Seattle, King County and the state of Washington.
In 2007, GHG emissions within Klondike totaled 187 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2E). This includes emissions from park and visitor activities. The University of Washington, under a UNPEPP grant, completed an Energy Efficiency and Solar PV report for the Cadillac Hotel in January 2010. Findings include that the HVAC system is not operating at its optimal level and that the building’s insulation is inadequate creating a high degree of thermal loss. Currently, the NPS and Historic Seattle Inc., the current owner of the Cadillac Hotel, are exploring ways to improve the operation of the HVAC system through installation of a digital control device and better maintenance strategies.
The graph below, taken from our Climate Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2007 broken down into sectors, including visitor travel.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park – Seattle intends to:
- Reduce GHG emissions from park operations to 5% below 2007 levels by the year 2016 by implementing emission mitigation actions identified by the park.
- Reduce park operations’ energy use emissions to 5% below 2007 levels by 2016.
- Even though all staff currently uses mass transit to travel to and from the park, and a hybrid unit has replaced the vehicle used by park staff, the staff is committed to looking for more ways to reduce park operations’ transportation emissions.
- Reduce park operations’ waste emissions to 10% below 2007 levels by 2016 through waste diversion and reduction.
To read more about what we are doing at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park – Seattle about climate change, check out our Action Plan!