• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

Point Reyes National Seashore is now a Climate Friendly Park

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Date: April 16, 2008
Contact: William Shook, 415-464-5188
Contact: John Dell’Osso, 415-464-5135

The Point Reyes National Seashore announced today that it has become a member of the Climate Friendly Parks Network; a collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service. As a Climate Friendly Park, the Seashore becomes one of only 35 other national parks, including Yosemite NP, Yellowstone NP and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, all committed to taking stock of and reducing their carbon footprint.

Superintendent Don Neubacher said, "As repositories of some of the most famed examples of natural and cultural history, Climate Friendly Parks are adapting to a changing environment to ensure the enjoyment of these national treasures for future generations."

Since 2005, Point Reyes has reduced its total emission of greenhouse gasses to 5,953 metric tons (from 7,663 metric tons) and plans further reductions of 15% by 2016. Therefore, the park has reduced its gross emissions by 1,710 metric tons since 2005. Solar power generates more than 14 percent of all park electricity and runs 5 park vehicles. Additionally, the park sequesters (removes from the atmosphere) 30,000 metric tons of carbon in plants communities such as coastal forests, chaparral, grasslands and estuary eelgrass. These figures indicate the park is a major sink and significantly reduces greenhouse gases.

In order to achieve the Climate Friendly designation, a park must conduct a greenhouse gas inventory and complete a plan with specific steps to be taken to reduce those emissions. In its newly developed Climate Action Plan, Point Reyes National Seashore has pledged to reduce carbon emissions in the future through conservation, best management practices and innovative technologies.

Specific examples of actions to be implemented by the National Seashore are:

  • Conduct experimental shuttle system this summer from Bear Valley to Limantour Beach to reduce private vehicle emissions,
  • Expansion of solar systems to additional park facilities,
  • Encourage bike to work days this year to promote alternative transportation, and
  • Convert incandescent lights to fluorescent or LED lights throughout the park.

One innovative technology may be to use methane digesters to convert manure into electrical energy and heat. Because the Seashore is home to six dairy ranches methane digesters may provide multiple benefits by reducing emissions of methane (a greenhouse gas), producing energy and reducing agricultural wastes. Several ranchers have expressed strong interest in working with the park on reducing methane gas and installing digesters. As a Climate Friendly Park, the Seashore will develop educational tools and materials to increase public awareness of climate change issues.

One of the more obvious challenges for Point Reyes National Seashore stemming from climate change is the predicted rise in sea level as a result of melting glaciers and polar icecaps. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that sea level will rise between 0.6 feet to two feet in the next century.

"The scientific modeling shows us that the consequences for our park’s coastal landscapes are serious," said park Chief of Natural Resources, William Shook, "including flooding, beach erosion, and saltwater intrusion."

A 2005 report by the U.S. Geological Survey entitled "Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of Point Reyes National Seashore to Sea-Level Rise" indicates that areas such as Limantour Beach and Drakes Beach, which are ecologically important as well as favored visitor attractions, will go through the most drastic alterations due to sea level rise.

For additional information on climate change, please visit the Seashore’s expanded website at http://www.nps.gov/pore/naturescience/climatechange.htm.

For information on the Climate Friendly Parks Program and a list of member parks, go to: http://www.nps.gov/climatefriendlyparks/index.html.

- NPS -

Did You Know?

Point Reyes Lighthouse

The Point Reyes Lighthouse was completed in 1870, 16 years after Congress initially appropriated funds for its construction. It still stands in its original location, having weathered over 140 years at what is considered to be the windiest, foggiest location on the US west coast. More...