Mesa Verde National Park Visitor and Research Center Will Test Sustainable Landscape Rating System

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Date: September 15, 2010
Contact: Tessy Shirakawa, 970-529-4628

The Visitor and Research Center at Mesa Verde National Park was selected as one of the landscape projects to participate in a pilot program testing the nation's first rating system for sustainable landscape design, construction, and maintenance. The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) announced the Visitor and Research Center, along with 150 other U.S. projects from 34 states and sites from Canada, Iceland, and Spain, to be part of the new SITES rating system.

The Visitor and Research Center project, managed by the Denver Service Center, consists of two building components (the Visitor Information Center and Curatorial Center) that are designed to form a single building. Sustainable design and energy efficiency have been a commitment since the beginning of the project. The contextual design solution provides strong reference to both contemporary and ancestral Native American heritage. The entire project implements sustainable design feature and will be of high efficiency construction with emphasis on alternative energy systems. The entire facility will be environmentally friendly and incorporate the use of both durable and "green" building materials.

The Visitor and Research Center project joins other SITES programs including the Smithsonian Institution's African American History & Culture museum, along with other projects that include academic and corporate campuses, public parks with hundreds of acres, transportation corridors, and private residences of less than one acre. The pilot phase will run through June 2012 and feedback from the selected pilot projects will be used to revise a final rating system and reference guide by 2013.

Acting Superintendent Bill Nelligan stated, "Mesa Verde National Park is proud to take part in this pilot project. Going green is a key component of the National Park Service mission to preserve and protect our national parks for future generations."

The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an interdisciplinary partnership led by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden to transform land development and management practices with the nation's first voluntary rating system for sustainable landscapes, with or without buildings. For more information, visit


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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