In 2011 approximately 255,000 visitors strolled the streets of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park discovering the natural and cultural treasures preserved by the park's dedicated staff and volunteers. Historic buildings, living history presentations, museums and exhibits recreate the stories of Harpers Ferry's robust and influential past, while guided tours and hiking trails offer visitors a chance to see the sights and a picturesque views of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers and the area's mountainous terrain.
Changes in area climate may alter the park's ecosystems, changing vegetation communities, habitats and visitor experience. Challenges to cultural resources and infrastructure may also occur. However, to adapt to a changing climate, park managers must plan ahead and prepare.
Harpers Ferry NHP has already contributed to improving the environment through implementation of a variety of programs and projects. Sustainable operational practices implemented include 70% replacement of lighting fixtures and ballasts to more energy efficient models, upgrading of 18 HVAC units throughout the park, use of B-5 alternative fuel in new fleet shuttle buses and elimination of 12 vehicles from park fleet, implementation of a comprehensive park-wide recycling program (including staff and visitors) and development of educational programming encompassing environmental messages.
The Harpers Ferry NHP Climate Action Plan identifies further steps that the park will take to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to current and future impacts of climate change. The plan presents the park's GHG emission reduction goals, and associated reduction actions and adaptation strategies to achieve the park's goals.
In order to develop appropriate and effective emissions reductions efforts, the park assessed emissions from park operations by source. Purchased electricity represents the largest source of GHG emissions from park operations with 882 MTCO2e (63%). The second largest source of emissions from park operations is mobile combustion with 206 MTCO2e (23%). The third largest source is stationary combustion with 171 MTCO2 e (12%). Only 1% of GHG emissions from park operations were generated from solid waste disposal and refrigerants. Emissions from wastewater treatment (1 MTCO2e) and fertilizer application (0 MTCO2 e) were relatively very small.
The 189 MTCO2e attributed to visitors come from visitor transportation in private or non-park vehicles traveling within park boundaries. Park staff provide shuttle buses to transport visitors between Upper and Lower Town Harpers Ferry, helping to limit visitor traffic on the roads between the two park units, therefore reducing the need for private vehicle visitor travel.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park 2008 Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Source
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has committed to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from park energy use, transportation, and waste by 15 percent below 2009 level by the year 2019
- Increase climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reduction education and outreach
To read more about how Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is responding to climate change, check out the park's Action Plan!
For more information on Climate Friendly Parks throughout the National Park Service click here!