Climate Friendly Parks

Our Climate Friendly Park Video, Watch Now!

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3 minutes, 31 seconds

Video produced to show how Prince William Forest Park staff work to help and promote measures related to climate change.

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What is the Climate Friendly Parks Program?
The Climate Friendly Parks program (CFP) is an initiative of the National Park Service that provides support for parks in their effort to preserve precious natural and cultural resources. Using various tools, the program helps parks by implementing sustainable practices to address climate change within the park while also engaging park visitors. Each park voluntarily measures their impacts through a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory, creates a Climate Action Plan to set goals and reduce those emissions, and engages the public in discussions about being climate friendly.

Leading the Way

Prince William Forest Park became the first Climate Friendly Park in the National Capital Region in 2011. In collaboration with other parks in the region, we are working to implement strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By 2016, Prince William Forest Park is committed to reducing its total emissions by 20%. We seek to reduce emissions below 2008 levels from park energy use (12%), transportation (50%), and solid waste (21%). Learn more about our goals in our Climate Action Plan. Using some of the easy ways listed below, you can help the park become more climate friendly. Join us in our commitment to be more climate friendly by taking action in the park and in your daily lives.
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Water Refill Station

Before starting your park adventure, fill up your water bottle at the refill station located next to the Visitor Center. Choosing to use the refill station is a healthy choice for you to stay hydrated. It’s healthy for the environment too since it eliminates GHG emissions from the production, transportation and disposal of single-use plastic bottles. Every refill saves you the cost of another bottle. This small amount can really add up! It’s easy to bring this climate friendly action home by drinking water from the tap or filter and using a personal reusable bottle. If you don't have a reusable bottle, remember to recycle.

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Trash Free Program

It is always a disappointment to find trash on your favorite trail. To preserve the parks scenic beauty and reduce solid waste, Prince William Forest Park is a Trash Free Park. This program compliments the “Leave No Trace” ethics supported by the National Park Service. We ask you to pack out the trash you bring to the park because there are no trash cans provided for day use activities such as hiking, biking, and picnicking. Being trash free also reduces the parks’ emissions created from trash collection and disposal.

By participating in our trash free program, visitors preserve the natural aesthetic of the park while helping us meet our goal of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. You can reduce the amount of trash you produce by bringing reusable or recyclable picnic supplies. Using reusable items saves you money, since you don’t have to buy new supplies for every visit. Reducing, reusing, and recycling at home are also money savers and climate friendly behaviors. Check out more tips on how to reduce waste at home and save money.


Turkey Run Education Center: Climate Friendly Park

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Caption: Climate Friendly Actions: 1) Native Garden, 2) Rain Barrel, 3) Green Screen

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1. Native Garden

Native plants are better suited for the region’s local environment and often require fewer resources, such as water and fertilizer, than nonnative plants. Planting native species helps provide food for native pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, that may struggle to find food as some plants respond to climate change by blooming earlier each year. By growing native plants at home, you can create a beautiful, sustainable garden that also supports native animals.

Native Plant Resorces:

Chesapeake Bay Watershed native plants.

Northern Virginia native plants.

Invasive Plant Resources:

Mid Atlantic invasive plants.


2. Rain Barrel

Every time it rains in Prince William Forest Park, the rain barrels throughout the park collect the runoff water from the roof’s gutters and stores it for use later. The rain barrel is a sustainable, cost-effective way to water our native garden. You can take similar actions at home by collecting rainwater for your plants.

3. Green Screen

When the vines on the metal screen are fully grown, they will create a beautiful living wall. The green screen saves energy by blocking sunlight and keeping walls cool in the summer. In the winter, the green screen sheds its leaves, allowing natural heat from the sun to warm the building's exterior. You can save on your heating and cooling bills using this same idea by planting your own green screen or using awnings on south facing walls.

A fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles.

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Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Park employees drive fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles. By using vehicles that emit less greenhouse gases, we are saving on fuel costs and being climate friendly. Buying a new car takes planning, but helping us emit fewer GHGs does not. Take part in our “No Idling” policy and turn off your car. Even if you are only stopping for a few minutes, you can have a positive impact on the environment and save fuel.


Automatic Lighting

The restrooms behind the Turkey Run Education Center and elsewhere in the park contain automatic light sensors that only come on when a visitor enters and shut off shortly after. This technology minimizes electricity usage for lights, which reduces GHG emissions and saves the park money. Remembering to turn off the lights at home when they’re not in use can go a long way to be energy and cost-efficient.

Climate Friendly Lessons from Maintenance

Our maintenance division is always looking for ways to reduce GHG emissions, save on energy costs, and become more sustainable. They are our Climate Friendly Parks Program champions because they are integral part of planning, implementing, and monitoring our programs.

A solar tube on a roof used for natural lighting.
Solar tubes provide natural light and save energy.

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Actions You May See:

  • Motion Sensor and high efficiency lighting
  • Solar tubes for natural lighting
  • Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
  • Boardwalks made of recycled materials
  • Trails made of recycled rubber tires
  • Thermal double-paned windows
Cabin shingles made out of recycled materials.
Cabins at Prince William Forest Park have shingles made of 90% recycled materials.

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Behind the Scenes Actions:

  • ENERGY STAR appliances
  • Tankless water heaters
  • Cabin shingles made of 90 % recycled materials
  • Recycling used motor oil
All of us doing our part is important to preserving the park’s treasured resources and recreational opportunities that are being impacted by a changing climate.
Trail made out of recycled rubber tires.
A trail at Prince William Forest Park that is made out of recycled rubber tires.

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Last updated: May 4, 2022

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18100 Park Headquarters Road
Triangle , VA 22172


703 221-7181

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