Pinnacles National Monument

About the Park

Air quality is a defining feature at Pinnacles National Monument and an important resource.  Pinnacles National Monument is designated as a Class I Area under the Clean Air Act.  It is federally mandated that the plants, animals, water quality, historic and cultural resources, visibility, and other resources must be protected from air pollution impacts.


At Pinnacles National Monument, increasing temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns may alter park ecosystems, changing vegetation communities, habitats available for species, and the experience of park visitors.  A relatively modest increase in temperature would affect precipitation, fire regime and organism habitats in the local ecosystems.  Increasing temperature and changing precipitation patterns could potentially result in a shift of specific habitat to higher elevations, local flora and fauna with specific needs and limited mobility could be locally extirpated, resulting in a possible decline of species diversity.

The Climate Friendly Parks Action Plan identifies steps that Pinnacles National Monument can undertake to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to current and future impacts of climate change.  The plan presents the Park’s emission reduction goals, and associated reduction actions and adaptation strategies to achieve the Park’s goals.  Strategies and action plan items were developed by working groups at the San Francisco Bay Area Network Climate Friendly Parks Workshop.

Emissions Profile

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., fertilizers and refrigerants).  At Pinnacles National Monument, the main sources of energy for park operations are propane and purchased electricity.

In 2007, GHG emissions within Pinnacles National Monument totaled 540 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: Thus, the combined emissions from park and concessioner operations and visitor activities within the Park are roughly equivalent to the emissions from the energy use of 46 households each year.

The largest emission sector for Pinnacles National Monument is transportation, totaling 370 MTCO2E. Visitor vehicles driving within park boundaries generate about 70 percent of the transportation emissions. 

The graph below, taken from our Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2007 broken down into sectors.



Pinnacles National Monument has committed to reduce park operations by the following amounts:

  • Energy use emissions to 45 percent below 2007 levels by 2016.
  • Transportation emissions to 35 percent below 2007 levels by 2016.
  • Waste emissions to 40 percent below 2007 levels by 2016 through waste diversion and reduction.

To read more about what we are doing at Pinnacles National Monument about climate change, check out our Action Plan!