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Do Your Part for Climate Friendly Parks

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Date: July 17, 2008
Contact: Gregg Bruff, 906-387-2607, ext. 208
Contact: Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332

Lake Superior's clear blue water sparkles as the Grand Sable Dunes rise in the distance.
Lake Superior and the Grand Sable Dunes
NPS photo by Gregg Bruff

National Parks Conservation Association Announces New Website to Empower National Park Visitors to Address Global Warming

(Washington, D.C.) Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the nation's leading voice for the national parks, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), have launched a new website, Do Your Part for Climate Friendly Parks, which empowers national park visitors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help national parks nationwide become leaders in combating global warming.

"The 300 million people who visit America's national parks annually could be a tremendous force in combating global warming," said NPCA Clean Air and Climate Programs Director Mark Wenzler. "We are giving park visitors a tool to make a difference by cutting global warming pollution and helping to protect the national parks they love."

Developed in concert with the National Park Service's Climate Friendly Parks program, the Do Your Part website encourages national park visitors to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and thereby help to protect America's national parks from the effects of global warming. Visitors choose from a drop-down list of 15 national parks, create a personal profile, and pledge to take climate-friendly actions that would then "benefit" that individual national park.

According to the website, if only five percent of national park visitors substituted 10 percent of their current electricity use with greener sources of power, they would save 11 billion pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

The 15 national parks listed on www.doyourpartparks.org are among the 40 parks nationwide that have joined the Park Service's Climate Friendly Parks program and committed to taking on-the-ground action to address global warming, including working to achieve maximum energy efficiency in park buildings and expanding park shuttle systems. Participating parks featured on the website include Apostle Islands, Glacier, Yosemite, Zion, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore earned its distinction within the Climate Friendly Parks Program by completing a Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory and Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gases. Pictured Rocks also implemented climate-friendly actions such as constructing a photovoltaic power system at Au Sable Light Station, installing photovoltaic powered campground water pump systems, replacing many petroleum-based products with soy or vegetable-based products, and running park diesel equipment on 20 percent biodiesel blend.

"The Lakeshore's Climate Friendly Action Plan has set the goal of 105 of our 435,000 annual park visitors participating in this program," stated Chief of Heritage Education Gregg Bruff. "If 43,000 visitors reduced their greenhouse gas emissions, we would be making a huge leap forward in combating climate change here at the Lakeshore."

In 2007, NPCA published Unnatural Disasters, a report about the ongoing and forecasted effects of global warming in national parks nationwide, from increased flooding and fires to the loss of plants and animals. Glaciers in the national parks of Alaska as well as North Cascades and Mount Rainier National Parks will continue to disappear, Joshua trees will no longer exist at Joshua Tree National Park, and a rising sea will drown Everglades National Park and portions of historic sites such as Colonial National Historical Park, site of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown. In its report, NPCA offered recommended actions for federal, state, and local governments, and individuals to slow, and in some cases, halt the damage from global warming to our national parks.

"The Do Your Part website provides national park visitors with easy-to-follow opportunities to reduce our personal contributions to global warming and thus, ensure a healthier park system for our children and grandchildren," said Wenzler.

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