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Smokies Launches Global Climate Educational Initiative

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Date: June 17, 2008
Contact: Bob Miller, (865) 436-1207

On Monday, June 16 Great Smoky Mountains National Park launched a new "Do Your Part!" initiative aimed at educating visitors about measures that they can take, in the park and at home, to reduce their contributions to global warming. Visitors to the park’s visitor centers and other facilities will find information posted with suggestions on how they can minimize their carbon footprint during their visit as well as when they return home.

The park is encouraging the public to visit the park’s Do Your Part! webpage to get a variety of information on climate change and personal actions to reduce their contribution to the problem. Also at the site they can sign up to learn more about how their current carbon footprint and set goals for reducing it.

Simple suggestions for reducing carbon emissions while visiting the park include:

Shut off your vehicle rather than letting it idle. Park visitors often leave vehicle running while they get out to enjoy the scenery at overlooks, but if a vehicle idles longer than 20 seconds it burns more gas than it takes to restart it.

Bring a reusable water bottle. Americans buy about 28 billion bottles of water each year, but substantial energy is used to fill and transport them and later to collect and dispose of them as waste.

At home, ideas include:

Use ENERGY STAR® appliances and compact fluorescent lights. Replacing the five most-used lights in an average home can save $65 a year.

Lower the thermostat in the winter and raise it in summer. Changing the thermostat and adding insulation offer the best opportunity to save energy and reduce emission from homes.

The "Do Your Part!" initiative is the public outreach component of the National Park Service’s Climate Friendly Parks Program. The Smokies is one of 40 National Park Service units nationwide that committed to taking on-the-ground action to address global warming. Climate Friendly Parks, are working to achieve maximum energy efficiency in park buildings and operations by developing a baseline emissions inventory, by setting an emissions reduction target and defining a comprehensive set of planned climate-friendly actions.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park earned its distinction as a Climate Friendly Parks Member Park by completing a Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory and hosting a Climate Friendly Parks Workshop. Other park initiatives have included conversion of its entire diesel fleet to biodiesel, acquiring a total of nine hybrid sedans, and constructing its newly-completed Twin Creeks Science and Education Center to qualify for LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Did You Know?

Fontana Lake is formed by Fontana Dam.

At 480 feet, Fontana Dam, located on the southwestern boundary of the park, is the tallest concrete dam east of the Rocky Mountains. The dam impounds the Little Tennessee River forming Fontana Lake and produces hydroelectric power. More...