Redwood National and State Parks
About the Park
Redwood National and State Parks are located in northernmost California, about 325 miles north of San Francisco. Roughly 50 miles long, the parklands stretch from near the Oregon border in the north to the Redwood Creek watershed, southeast of Orick, California.
Climate change presents significant risks and challenges to California State Parks, the National Park Service, and specifically to Redwood National and State Parks. 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 Redwood National and State Parks, increasing temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns may alter park ecosystems, change vegetation communities, alter habitats available for species, and change the experience of park visitors. These changes may make it more likely that new plant and animal diseases become problematic, such as Sudden Oak Death. Invasive, exotic plants and animals become more prevalent if climactic conditions favor non native species over native species. Fire regimes may become more or less frequent and intense, which may cause vegetation communities to change in composition and extent. Severe storm intensity and frequency may cause increased coastal erosion, more frequent “blow down” events in park forests and increased flooding. Rising ocean levels caused by polar ice melting may inundate coastal habitats. In addition, changing atmospheric chemistry may also alter marine ecosystems. Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air is being absorbed by the ocean locally and making the water more acidic.
This Action Plan identifies steps that Redwood National and State Parks can undertake to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and mitigate their impact on climate change. While the plan provides a framework needed to meet the parks’ emission reduction goals, it is not intended to provide detailed instructions on how to implement each of the proposed measures. The parks’ Environmental Management System will describe priorities and details to implement these actions. It is within the annual Environmental Management System update process that the generalized planned actions described in this Action Plan will be made specific and actionable.
The vast majority of GHG emissions in the parks are the result of vehicles burning fossil fuels. Redwood National and State Parks are over 50 miles long and are accessed by two interstate highways and a county road. Visitors and park staff must travel long distances to move from one section of the parks to another. Energy consumption for heating and cooling park buildings is quite low, however, because of the very moderate year round coastal climate. Temperatures rarely rise above 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and rarely dip below 40 degrees in the winter.
In 2007, GHG emissions within Redwood National and State Parks totaled 8,352 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). This includes emissions from park and concessioner operations and visitor activities, including vehicle use within the parks. The largest emission sector for Redwood National and State Parks is mobile combustion stemming from vehicle use by park visitors and park staff, totaling approximately 6,893 MTCO2E. Only very small emission amounts are generated by all the other sectors in the parks. All forestry emissions are the result of smoke generated during annual prescribed burning of park grasslands, woodlands and forests.
The graph below, taken from our Climate Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2007 broken down into sectors, including visitor travel.
Redwood National and State Parks aim to:
- Reduce 2007 energy GHG emissions from park operations by 20 percent by 2015.
- Reduce 2007 transportation GHG emissions from park operations by 10 percent by 2015.
- Reduce 2007 waste GHG emissions from park operations by 10 percent by 2015.
- Reduce total 2007 park GHG emissions, including visitors, by 10 percent by 2016.
To read more about what we are doing at the Redwood National and State Parks about climate change, check out our Action Plan!