Nez Perce National Historical Park
About the Park
The Nez Perce National Historical Park is comprised of thirty-eight sites and that tell the story of the Nimiipuu or Nez Perce, who have lived among the rivers, canyons and prairies of the inland northwest since time immemorial —and who are still part of this landscape.
As a participant in the Climate Friendly Parks program, Nez Perce National Historical Park belongs to a network of parks nationwide that are putting climate friendly behavior at the forefront of sustainability planning. By conducting an emission inventory, setting an emission reduction goal, developing this Action Plan, and committing to educate park staff, visitors, and community members about climate change, Nez Perce National Historical Park provides a model for climate-friendly behavior within the National Park Service (NPS).
Nez Perce National Historical Park has committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) from its park operations to 40% below 2007 levels by the year 2016 by implementing emission mitigation actions identified by the park. This Action Plan lays out measures the park will undertake to meet this goal.
At Nez Perce National Historical Park, increasing temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns may alter park ecosystems, changing vegetation communities, habitats available for species, and the experience of Park visitors. The effects of global climate change are particularly difficult to substantiate given that Nez Perce National Historical Park is not contained within one contiguous land base, but is rather comprised of scattered sites containing significant natural and cultural resource components in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho (where two-thirds of park sites are found).
While this Action Plan mainly focuses on park headquarters at Spalding, Idaho—where primary visitor, administrative, and facility management operations are centered—its remaining 37 sites are located across ecological zones at elevations ranging from approximately 700 feet to 6,800 feet above sea level, in three basic ecoregions: shortgrass prairie, sagebrush steppe, and conifer/alpine meadows. Spalding is located in the Palouse Grasslands of the shortgrass prairie ecoregion.
In 2007, GHG emissions within Nez Perce National Historical Park totaled 240 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). This includes emissions from park and concessioner operations and visitor activities, including vehicle use within the park. For perspective, a typical single family home in the U.S. produces approximately 12 MTCO2 per year (U.S. EPA, Greenhouse Gases Equivalencies Calculators – Calculations and References, Retrieved; Website: http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html). Thus, the combined emissions from park operations and visitor activities within the park are roughly equivalent to the emissions from the electricity use of 20 households each year.
The largest emission sectors for Nez Perce National Historical Park are energy and transportation, totaling 116 and 105 MTCO2E respectively. Park facilities and infrastructure are powered by electricity, principally hydro-generated. None of these facilities would be eligible today for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, and the park’s long-range plan calls for adapting and augmenting the existing Spalding visitor center to comply with green building criteria and consolidate staff now working in separated locations. The high cost, and protracted NPS line-item construction timeline, means that this goal is unlikely to be realized for many years. The Action Plan therefore describes the actions that have been taken, and those anticipated, that will mitigate and further reduce GHG emissions.
The graph below, taken from our Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2007 broken down into sectors.
The EMS Environmental Commitment Statement asserts that Nez Perce National Historical Park will:
- conduct its operations in an environmentally responsible manner in accordance with NPS Director’s Order 13A;
- meet or exceed all applicable federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations;
- incorporate best management practices, fostering the sustainable use of natural resources;
- reduce waste generation, and recycle and reuse all materials wherever feasible in park operations;
- purchase environmentally preferable products;
- cooperate with local governments and stakeholders to promote sound environmental management practices;
- educate visitors on these concepts; and
- strive for continual improvement in environmental management.
This Climate Friendly Parks Action Plan is folded into the Nez Perce National Historical Park EMS environmental goals, objectives, and targets identified on pages 23-26 of the FY2010 EMS Plan.
To read more about what we are doing at Nez Perce National Monument about Climate Change, check out our Action Plan!