• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Sustainability

A man stands inside a dark ice cave, silhouetted by light coming from the entrance.
A visitor stands near the entrance of one of Paradise ice caves. This photo was taken in 1958. Due to the retreat of the glacier, these caves no longer exist.
NPS Photo
 
"To conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

-National Park Service Mission, 1916 Organic Act

 
Do Your Part logo
Ensuring the Future
Climate change is a reality of our world today. Scientists studying climate, or the pattern of weather over a long period of time, have noticed a warming trend that has inescapable consequences for people as well as the earth's many ecosystems. As evidence of human contribution toward climate change increases, Mount Rainier National Park is making a serious commitment toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable practices. Sustainability is managing and preserving the earth's natural resources so they are passed on to future generations in a healthy and abundant manner.

While climate change is a global problem, every individual has a role to play in finding a solution, from reducing your carbon footprint at home to contributing to citizen science efforts.

"Sustainability does not require a loss in the quality of life, but does require a change in mind-set, a change in values toward less consumptive lifestyles. These changes must embrace global interdependence, environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic viability."

- National Park Service: Guiding Principles of Sustainable Design
 
A park ranger stands dwarfed at the base of an old-growth Douglas-fir tree.

A park ranger stands next to an old-growth Douglas-fir tree. Mount Rainier's forests are one of the many natural resources protected by the park.

NPS Photo

Sustainable Park Practices
We all share the responsibilities of caring for our environment and conserving natural resources. Staff at Mount Rainier National Park are also involved in implementing sustainable practices. We do these things out of concern for the environment and as part of our association with the Greening of the National Park Service program. The program encompasses energy efficiency, green purchasing, recycling, and environmental design.

Here are a few examples of environment-friendly projects and practices at Mount Rainier:

  • We conduct environmental analysis on construction and design projects. The park is engages in a wide variety of planning and construction projects that have the potential to impact park resources including air, water, plants, wildlife, historic structures, etc. To determine what those impacts might be, the park conducts environmental analysis. Resource professionals and other staff engage in collaborative planning to identify the best possible alternatives, with the least possible impacts.
  • We use a hybrid solar energy system in the White River area. The solar system replaced a generator-only system. It produces 85% of the electricity required for the area, reducing the generator-supplied energy to 15%! The benefits of the system are reduced fuel consumption, reduced emissions, reduced noise levels and lower operating costs.
  • We also focus on using new "green" products as they are developed. One of our park generators and all of our diesel vehicles now run on special emissions-reducing fuel made with soybean-based, low-sulfur fuel. Additionally in the park fleet we have hybrid vehicles, which combine a traditional internal combustion engine with an electric motor in order to reduce gas consumption. As an Energy Star Partner Organization, we are committed to lowering our energy consumption by purchasing Energy Star rated devices including refrigerators, furnaces, and computers. We use energy efficient lighting, including compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • We reduce our consumption of resources by reusing and recycling products. In addition to the usual items- aluminum, plastic, glass, and paper- we recycle scrap metal, used oil, batteries, and a number of other items. We purchase recycled products including plastic bags, picnic tables, lumber, pre- and post-consumer recycled paper, and automobile parts. In addition to recycling, park concessions collect food waste for compost (36.7 tons collected in 2012) and donate used cooking oil to be converted into biodiesel.

Be part of the Effort!
Please deposit aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and glass in the recycle cans located throughout the park. Save energy and reduce emissions by planning a Green Visit to the park.

 

Want to learn more?

Climate Friendly Parks
The Climate Friendly Parks (CFP) program is one component of the National Park Service Green Parks Plan, an integrated approach by the NPS to address climate change through implementing sustainable practices in our operations. Mount Rainier National Park is a certified Climate Friendly Park.

What You Can Do
Suggestions from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for easy changes you can make at home, work, and the office in order to protect the climate, reduce air pollution, and save money.

National Parks Conservation Association
Information about climate change from the National Parks Conservation Association, including the report "Unnatural Disasters: Global Warming and Our National Parks".

Did You Know?

A woman stands between towering snowbanks in 1971, when there were record snowfalls.

1,122 inches, or 93.5 feet (28.5 meters), of snow fell at Paradise over the winter of 1971-1972, setting the world record at the time for measured snowfall in a single year. More...