National Mall & Memorial Parks
About the Park
The National Mall & Memorial Parks commemorate presidential legacies; honor the courage and sacrifice of war veterans; celebrate the United States commitment to freedom and equality; and include the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, District of Columbia War Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, the National Mall, East and West Potomac Parks and Constitution Gardens.
Climate change presents significant risks and challenges to the National Park Service. In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Washington, D.C., sea-level is rising 1 to 2 inches per decade. However, climate change is expected to cause sea level to rise 15 to 40 inches, or double that rate, by 2100.3 In addition, due to sediment compaction processes that cause land in the mid-Atlantic to sink, sea level rise in the region is currently significantly greater than global sea level rise.
At National Mall and Memorial Parks, increased temperatures and hydrologic changes will alter the natural and manmade landscape of the park’s structures and open space, impacting the wide variety of ecological, cultural, and recreational features the park currently provides. Climate change may affect the cultural and natural resources entrusted to the National Mall and Memorial Parks.
GHG emissions result from the combustion of fossil fuels for transportation and energy (e.g., boilers, electricity generation), the decomposition of waste and other organic matter, and the volatilization or release of gases from various other sources (e.g., decompositions of the forest, flora and refrigerants).
The National Mall and Memorial Parks’ GHG inventory is influenced by the unique features and operations of the park, causing some emission sources to be higher compared to other national parks. For example, the park is entrusted with a large number of historic structures that require power and lighting on a consistent basis. Also, there are hundreds of acres of landscaping to maintain and large amounts of visitor solid waste generated. Conversely, the park experiences lower emissions from visitor vehicles since most visitors walk between memorials and monuments.
The graph below, taken from our Climate Action Plan, shows our 2008 baseline park operations emissions by source.
National Mall & Memorial Parks aim to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from park operations by 6% below 2008 levels by 2020 by:
- Reduce employee emissions at the park
- Increase energy efficiency of existing assets and operations and encourage opporunities for using renewable energy at parks
- Increase climate education programs and education for park staff and visitors.
To read more about what we are doing at the Crater Lake National Park about climate change, check out our Action Plan!