Lassen Volcanic National Park
About the Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is located in northeastern California. Due to the high elevation of the park and the influence of the Pacific Ocean, the park receives upwards of 40 feet of snow per year.
Although Lassen is primarily known for its volcanic geology, the park boasts a rich diversity of plant and animal life. Over 700 flowering plant species grace the park, providing shelter and food for 250 vertebrates as well as a host of invertebrates including insects. This great diversity of life forms is due to two factors: the geographic location of the park and the abundance of habitats that occur there. Situated at the southern end of the Cascade Range geologic province, Lassen Volcanic National Park lies at the crossroads of three great biological provinces: the Cascades range to the north, the Sierra Nevada mountains to the south and the Great Basin desert to the east.
Climate change presents significant risks and challenges to the National Park Service and specifically to Lassen Volcanic National Park. 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. The single leading cause of this warming is the buildup of GHGs in the atmosphere—primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)—which trap heat that otherwise would be released into space.
Rising global temperatures will further raise sea levels and affect all aspects of the water cycle, including snow cover, mountain glaciers, spring runoff, water temperature, and aquatic life. Climate change is also expected to affect human health, crop production, animal and plant habitats, and many other features of our natural and managed environments.
While the exact role of climate change upon Lassen Volcanic National Park’s ecosystems is unknown, several specific issues are of concern to the park’s resource managers. These issues include potential changes in the timing, type, and duration of precipitation and associated changes in wildland fire regimes, habitat types and species distributions. Shifting patterns of precipitation, such as a reduction in the park’s deep winter snowpack, would significantly alter habitats and ecosystem processes within the park. Long-term monitoring is underway to gather more information in a variety of areas, from physical processes such as climate and weather patterns, to the distribution and abundance of temperature sensitive species such as the American pika (Ochotona princeps).
This Action Plan identifies steps that Lassen Volcanic National Park (LVNP) will undertake to reduce GHG emissions mitigate its impact on climate change. The plan presents the Park’s emission reduction goals, strategies, and associated reduction actions to achieve the park’s goals.
In 2007, GHG emissions within Lassen Volcanic National Park equaled 2,806 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2E). This includes emissions from park and concessioner operations and visitor activities, including vehicle use within the park. The largest emission sector for Lassen Volcanic National Park is transportation, totaling 2,357 MTCO2E or 84% of the park’s overall emissions.
When concessionaire and park visitor emission contributions are removed from total emission figures, park operations alone generate 638 MTCO2E per year. The transportation sector is still the largest contributor of GHG emissions at 54% of the total park operations’ emissions. Emissions generated from the generation of electricity used by the park are the second largest contributor, at 42% of emissions from park operations.
The graph below, taken from our Climate Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2007 broken down into sectors, including visitor travel.
Lassen Volcanic National Park intends to:
- Reduce 2007 energy GHG emissions from park operations by 20 percent by 2016.
- Reduce 2007 transportation GHG emissions from park operations by 20 percent by 2016.
- Reduce 2007 waste GHG emissions from park operations by 10 percent by 2016.
- Reduce total 2007 park GHG emissions, including visitors and concessioners, by 10 percent by 2016.
To read more about what we are doing at the Lassen Volcanic National Park about climate change, check out our Action Plan!