Zion National Park
Life cannot exist without water, yet the Southwestern United States struggles each year with severe droughts and water shortages; residents of the region are sorely aware of their connection to our precious natural resources. In attempt to protect those resources Zion National Park has led the way in the implementation of environmentally conscious practices. From the Zion Shuttle that replaces thousands of vehicles in Zion Canyon each year to the construction of two LEED certifiable buildings, Zion has made lessening their footprint a priority.
The host for the third Climate Friendly Park workshop, Zion park employees abide by an environmental commitment statement that enables concessioners, partners, suppliers, vendors, contractors, and visitors to participate in environmental leadership practices that reach beyond protection and conservation to actually enhance park resources. "The Climate Friendly Parks initiative allowed us to address environmental management and climate change while identifying priority areas for our environmental management system," says Zion Superintendent Jock Whitworth. "Now we have a better idea of the impacts of climate change on the park's natural and cultural resources and we can identify possible solutions." Numerous objectives outlined in the system are progressing at a fast pace. Purchase of environmentally preferable materials has increased. Recycling is on the rise. Greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced. "Most important are the education and outreach efforts that reflect the passion of both the park and a model gateway community committed to stewardship," he adds.
Zion intensified their commitment and plans to go even further to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and preserve their natural resources. The Zion Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory (PDF 1 mb) was developed to provide an understanding of park emission sources and a baseline by which future reductions can be measured. The Climate Action Plan (PDF 231 kb) developed at the May 2004 workshop includes addressing water conservation through the introduction of Xeriscape landscaping techniques around buildings, obtaining alternative transportation means for park employees through a partnership with the Utah Transportation Authority, utilizing renewable biodiesel fuel, and spreading the word about "green issues" through ranger programs as well as the Zion Message Project.
For more information about Zion's current climate initiatives visit Zion's Green Park - Green Planet Website.