The National Park Service manages the largest number of constructed assets of any civilian agency in the federal government, operating and maintaining over 67,000 structures, 4 million landscape acres, 17,000 miles of trails, and 3,000 utility systems across 403 national park units. To ensure a servicewide comprehensive management strategy, the National Park Service released the Green Parks Plan on Earth Day 2012.
The Green Parks Plan (PDF - 3.5KB) outlines a collective vision and a long-term strategic plan for sustainable management of our operations. The goals and objectives within the plan, such as "Be Climate Friendly and Climate Ready" and "Foster Sustainability beyond Our Boundaries," support reducing greenhouse gas emissions while sharing and encouraging park neighbors and visitors to take steps toward including sustainable actions in their communities.
Over the past year, parks like San Antonio Missions National Historical Park have made great progress toward meeting goals outlined in the plan. From initiating a bicycle rental partnerships to transitioning to propane-powered mowers, San Antonio Missions takes alternative fueled vehicles to the next level. In 2012, the park partnered with the city of San Antonio and the B-Cycle Bike Share to initiate the "B-Cycle Mission Reach Expansion Project." Incorporating eight miles of non-motorized recreation, the project encourages visitors to explore the park while reducing their carbon footprint. Additionally, the park uses three propane mowers, covering 270 acres a year, to reduce petroleum use—also achieving a 50 percent savings in fuel costs annually. The park's partnership with the DOE Clean Cities Program also helps reduce GHG emissions by replacing two gasoline vehicles with alternative fueled vehicles and installing a public electric vehicle charging station. By 2014, 40 percent or more of the park's fleet comprise alternative fueled vehicles.
San Antonio Missions is just one of many parks taking action to reduce GHG emissions and the overall NPS carbon footprint. To learn more, visit the Green Parks Planwebsite today!