North Cascades National Park Service Complex

North Cascades National Park Service ComplexNorth Cascades National Park Service Complex spans the Cascade Crest from the temperate rainforest of the wet west-side to the dry ponderosa pine ecosystem of the east. The Complex encompasses landscapes with over 9000 feet of vertical relief. There results a high diversity of plants, over 1600 species so far identified, and many other organisms adapted to a wide spectrum of habitats.

The relatively new mountains, glaciers and streams of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex lie near a dynamic interface of tectonic plates and provide an opportunity to study geologic processes unfolding through time. Geologists and others, here seek answers to questions of global climate change, mountain building and erosion, volcanism, glaciation, stream dynamics, and more.

At North Cascades National Park Service Complex, increased temperatures and changing precipitation patterns may alter the natural ecosystems, and change both the habitats available for species and resources available for park visitor recreation.


In 2007, North Cascades National Park Service Complex’s GHG emissions totaled 5,818 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). This total includes emissions calculated from park operations, visitors, concessionaires, and other activities. The largest emission sector for North Cascades National Park Service Complex is Transportation - totaling 5,208 MTCO2E. The majority of transportation emissions result from visitor vehicle travel within park boundaries.


The graph below, taken from our Action Plan, shows our park baseline greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2007 broken down into sectors:

Emission Profile


The following goals were established and included in our Action Plan:

  • Reduce GHG emissions from park operations to 35% below 2007 levels by the year 2016
  • Encourage climate friendly behavior among park staff and visitors.
  • Preserve to the highest degree possible the park’s natural and cultural resources and infrastructure by increasing resilience to climate change.

Example North Cascades National Park Service Complex Planned Actions

  • Develop idling guidelines and post in fleet vehicles (e.g., dashboard stickers for NPS and concessionaire vehicles).
  • Unless required for vehicle operation, establish the park as a zero idling zone. Pair with an educational campaign to communicate “No Idling” messages throughout the park for both staff and visitors.
  • Ensure that language in contracts, leases, or agreements reflects green priorities in energy and material use. Include energy efficiency as a rated factor in performance standards, when appropriate.
  • Expand green energy purchases from Seattle City Light and continue green energy purchases from Puget Sound Energy. Encourage Chelan Public Utility District to offer green energy offsets to consumers.
  • Replace existing restroom faucets and toilets with energy-efficient low-flow models.
  • Develop staff skills in presenting climate change issues via workshops, seasonal orientation, and trainings.

To read more about what North Cascade National Park Service Complex is doing about Climate Change with Climate Friendly Parks, check out the Action Plan