The National Park Service mission articulates a clear ethic of environmental stewardship. In order to achieve the goal of protecting and preserving parks a number of executive orders and acts of legislation direct the federal government in the development of sustainable operations and facility adaptation. The National Park Service has developed the Green Parks Plan to provide goals and standards for lasting and conscientious improvements to American national parks.
Yellowstone National Park has embraced these goals and has been working toward becoming a greener park for many years. Early efforts in sustainability included building a regional composting facility, operating alternatively fueled vehicles, replacing toxic cleaning products, and overhauling the park’s recycling program. The park’s continued commitment to sustainability is made more urgent by changing climate and increasing impacts to natural resources both locally and globally. Historic increases in visitation and visitor impact has created a need for the park to continue to improve and expand our sustainability efforts.
Yellowstone’s size and complexity create challenges that require collaboration among park managers and considerable assistance from partners. In 2012, Yellowstone staff, concessioners, educational institutions, and corporate partners developed Yellowstone’s Strategic Plan for Sustainability. The plan builds on servicewide direction and focuses on specific goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, water use, and waste production, to adapt facilities, and conduct operations in an environmentally responsible manner. Many of these sustainability efforts are facilitated by the Yellowstone Environmental Coordinating Committee. The committee consists of representatives from the National Park Service, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies, the Yellowstone Association, Medcor, Yellowstone Park Service Stations, and the Yellowstone Park Foundation. The plan presents a clear direction by which everyone—employees, visitors, and partners—can work collaboratively to make Yellowstone greener.
National Park Service Green Parks Plan: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/sustainability/green-parks.htm
Executive Order (EO) 13423. 2009. Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.
Executive Order (EO) 13514. 2009. Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
Public Law 110-140. 2007. Energy Independence and Security Act.
Yellowstone National Park Lodges, Sustainability in Yellowstone: http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/environment/sustainability-at-yellowstone/
GreenPath at Delaware North: https://www.delawarenorth.com/about/values/greenpath
Last updated: February 20, 2018