Going Green

Solar Panels
Solar panels on the park headquarters are expected to provide 14% of the building's electrical needs.

Brad Metler


While there is no single magic bullet for solving climate change, there are many positive actions one can take. Some are small and are easily incorporated in our daily lives. Others require significant coordination and years of planning to implement. We pursue these ambitious endeavors with the knowledge that we are acting not in isolation but rather in coordination with national parks and partners all across the country.

The following are several recent accomplishments at North Cascades National Park Complex. Download the complete listing here.

Energy Use

  • Remodeled the Marblemount Wilderness Information Center to improve energy efficiency by replacing single-pane windows, insulating exterior walls and ceiling, replacing electric resistance heaters with heat pumps and propane backup heating, installing efficient light fixtures, and installing low-flow fixtures in the employee restroom and break room.
  • Replaced off-grid trailer housing in the remote location of Hozomeen with a state-of-the-art housing unit designed to promote sustainable seasonal employee living. This unit includes a 7.2 kW photovoltaic system (propane backup generator), recycled construction materials, and an Earth Tub.
  • Initiated planning and design to relocate Stehekin maintenance, fire, and housing facilities out of the flood plain. Facilities are expected to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.
  • Partnered with Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to encourage and support installation of a 32.2 kW grid-connected photovoltaic systems to provide 14% of electricity needs for the joint agency headquarters and visitor information center in Sedro-Woolley.

Waste Reduction

  • Replaced water-using urinals with waterless models in the Golden West Visitor Center and public restrooms at the Stehekin Landing Resort and incorporated educational wall plaques on the water conservation benefits.
  • Incorporated language into key contracts requiring the use of materials with recycled content, United States Department of Agriculture BioPreferred or biobased products, and/or products or materials identified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Comprehensive Procurement Guideline program.
  • Updated and revised the Marblemount Compound Recycle Center information and instruction booklet to educate park staff on expanded recycling opportunities within the Skagit District.


  • Partnered with Defense Solutions LLC to produce a Fleet Management Study and then implemented recommendations to ensure the fleet was of proper character and composition to meet park needs while incorporating as many alternative fuel vehicles as possible.
  • Implemented a park-wide “No Idling” policy and provided “No Idling” resources that have been embraced by parks throughout the Pacific West Region and the Alaska Region.
  • Ross Lake Resort, a concessions partner, voluntarily swapped out their entire 2 stroke outboard motors for cleaner, quieter, more efficient 4 stroke. Over half were replaced in 2010.

Education and Outreach

  • Incorporated climate change messages into the Junior Ranger Program, evening interpretative programs, and NPS publications distributed online and through visitor information facilities.
  • Partnered with the National Park Foundation to host an Electronic Field Trip focusing on climate change at North Cascades National Park to provide an interactive, live, educational experience for 4th through 8th graders in classrooms across the country. The online activities, curriculum, and live broadcast have the potential reach of 7 million viewers.
  • Partnered with North Cascades Institute and the National Park Foundation to initiate and then expand the Cascades Climate Challenge (originally Parks Climate Challenge) program, which brings high school youth leaders from across the northwest to North Cascades National Park for a month of study and experiential learning about climate change. Youth return to their communities to develop service-learning projects and to continue communicating their experiences to the public with the ongoing support of North Cascades Institute.

Leaders in the Region and Nation

  • Partnered with Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen to create a “science café” called Tapping Into Science, a monthly forum designed to create and facilitate inclusive discussions of scientific park research with those outside of the scientific community.
  • Utilized funding from the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission to partner with Outward Bound, Boy Scouts of America, the Urban Wilderness Project, North Cascades Institute, the Student Conservation Association, and others to engage youth in stewardship activities on Ross Lake.
  • Participated in C³ (Climate Change Collaboration) Federal agencies working together on climate change research, outreach/education, and adaptive management activities within the Pacific West Region.
  • Conducted climate change research through the North Coast and Cascades Inventory and Monitoring Program’s Vital Signs Monitoring, which is used to evaluate the health of national park ecosystems and to report to Congress.

Last updated: January 18, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284


(360) 854-7200

Contact Us