Point Reyes National Seashore Gets Greener
April 25, 2000
Contact: John Dell'Osso
With Earthday 2000 recently celebrated, Superintendent Don Neubacher announced that Point Reyes National Seashore has recently implemented a number of sustainable practices, some of which will become models for other national park units. “We want Point Reyes National Seashore to highlight ways for the public to reduce our impact on the planet. New projects underway illustrate the park’s commitment to green energy and sustainable practices,” stated Superintendent Neubacher.
The following is a partial list of projects and planning efforts that are underway at Point Reyes National Seashore:
- A recently conducted Renewable Energy Assessment performed by Bonneville Power Administration under contract with the National Park Service was completed for the Seashore. It outlined specific recommendations for a solar hot water system at the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center and a photovoltaic solar energy system at the recently acquired facility formerly operated by MCI.
- WestStart-CalStart out of Pasadena, California is assisting the Seashore in evaluating options for alternative fuel vehicles. The company is examining the current fleet of vehicles for conversion to clean fuels and the associated infrastructure requirements. Additionally, WestStart-CalStart will be providing advice on how best to use alternative fuels on the annual shuttle bus operation at the Point Reyes Headlands.
- A solar water heating system for the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center to supplement showers and kitchen operations will be installed later this year. The Center has over 3,000 children each year spend a week at the facility for curriculum-based environmental education. The historic Pierce Ranch complex will also have photovoltaic panels installed to generate electricity to the main house. This will in turn allows for the removal of power poles currently along the road in the tule elk reserve.
- Park staff will be replacing all two-stroke engines on park boats with fuel-injected engines. This project will reduce the negative impacts on water quality since two-stroke engines emit oil into the water. The new fuel-injected engines use 35% less fuel and 50% less oil than the two-stroke engines. Some four-stroke engines are also being used and they do not use oil in the fuel mix.
- The maintenance division of the Seashore has been converting all of their janitorial cleaning supplies to green cleaners. The process is approximately 95% complete with the goal of having all janitorial cleaning supplies converted to green cleaners by the end of the year. Additionally, recycled products such as toilet paper, hand towels, and plastic garbage bags have been in use for the last several years.
- A lighting plan for Point Reyes National Seashore visitor centers is currently being designed by scientists at the Earnest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory using the visitor centers as models. These scientists are looking at energy efficient lighting systems both by design and application of energy efficient systems. They have accomplished several successful projects in this area of design for other federal facilities.
- Several employees are now bicycling to and from work on a daily basis. In some cases from as far away as over 20 miles! These employees are not only saving precious fossil fuels and saving money, but they are staying fit while exercising to and from work.
- A vehicle washing system has been installed that filters solids and other hazardous materials such as engine oil to prevent flow into nearby creeks. This system is being used as a design prototype by the National Park Service’s Pacific West Region Facility Management Division for use in all park units with vehicle washing areas.
- Photovoltaic panels are being installed for campground water pumping and disinfecting. Three of the park’s hike-in campgrounds, Sky, Glen, and Wildcat are having these systems installed. These systems rely on the sun to produce electricity to operate the pumps and chlorination systems.
Point Reyes National Seashore programs are being funded through the “Green Energy Parks” program that is a joint program of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Energy. The idea is to promote the use of energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies and practices in our national parks. In addition, the program seeks to create partnerships with private-sector organizations and other public agencies that can provide technical expertise and financial resources to support sustainable energy projects in the parks.