Stretching from sea to shining sea, millions of cars travel to and between America’s National Parks each year. Unfortunately, these vehicles produce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and pollutants that threaten the air quality of these national treasures. To reduce these vehicles’ environmental impact, the Energy Department’s Clean Cities program and the National Park Service (NPS) announced new projects at nine parks that deploy alternative fuel and fuel-efficient vehicles on the road, cut vehicle idling, and improve vehicle efficiency.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas is installing two chargers with data collection capabilities to re-charge electric vehicles like this Mitsubishi I-MiEV. Credit: National Parks Service.
Clean Cities and NPS are also releasing a collection of outreach materials that all parks can use to engage visitors and staff on the benefits of fuel-efficient driving practices. The launch of the Green Rides Toolkit expands the long-time collaboration between Clean Cities and NPS. The Toolkit is a set of centralized educational materials addressing a variety of eco-friendly travel practices. These include reducing vehicle idling, developing green driving habits, using alternative fuels, driving more efficient vehicles, and adopting more sustainable forms of transportation such as mass transit, biking, and walking. Clean Cities and NPS created the Toolkit based on feedback from the 13 National Parks already partnering with Clean Cities to educate the public.
Clean Cities and NPS are also announcing the nine newest parks to adopt alternative fuel vehicles and lawn mowers, install plug-in electric vehicle chargers, and implement idle reduction programs. While some new participants are large, high-profile parks, others are small but will see major benefits. These parks worked with Clean Cities staff members and coalitions to identify solutions to improve their environment by reducing emissions in collaboration with visitors and the local communities. These nine projects are estimated to reduce petroleum use by more than 16,000 gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs), reduce nearly 109 metric tons of greenhouse gas emission equivalents (MTCO2e), and have the potential to communicate to and reach up to 2.7 million visitors.
Acadia National Park (Maine): Acadia, known for its wide array of outdoor activities and rugged coastal scenery, is working with Maine Clean Communities. The park will replace 10 existing vehicles with eight new alternative and fuel-efficient vehicles (two hybrid electric vehicles, two propane vans, and four low-speed electric vehicles with a trailer). Also, two electric vehicle charging stations (EVSE) for public and park vehicles will be installed.
Catoctin Mountain Park (Maryland): Catoctin, a park in the Appalachian Mountains, is working with the State of Maryland Clean Cities. The park will replace two conventional vehicles with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and install three EVSE for park and public use. The park will also replace three gasoline lawnmowers with propane mowers and share their use with a nearby military base.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (Colorado): This monument, which highlights a wealth of insect and plant fossils, is collaborating with Southern Colorado Clean Cities to replace two gasoline vehicles with two all-electric low-speed vehicles, install an EVSE, and deploy an all-electric utility vehicle.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee): The Great Smoky Mountains, America’s most visited National Park, is working with the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition and the Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition. It will be replacing three gasoline pickup trucks with three all-electric work trucks, converting five gasoline mowers to operate on propane, and installing four public EVSE. Specifically, the park plans to install two DC fast-charging EVSE that charge an all-electric vehicle in about a half hour and two Level 2 EVSE that charge an all-electric vehicle in four to six hours.
Nicodemus National Historic Site (Kansas): This historic site, which preserves the only remaining Western town founded by African Americans during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War, is working with Kansas City Regional Clean Cities. Nicodemus is replacing a gasoline pickup truck and mower with a propane pickup truck and mower.
Petroglyph National Monument (New Mexico): This monument, which contains volcanic cones and archeological sites, is working with the Land of Enchantment Clean Cities Coalition to replace three gasoline vehicles with an all-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and hybrid electric vehicle. Petroglyph will also install two EVSE, with one available to the public.
Pea Ridge National Military Park (Arkansas): This park, which preserves a Civil War battle site, is working with Arkansas Clean Cities to replace a gasoline pickup truck with a dedicated propane truck. The park will also develop a Green Team to educate staff, visitors, and students on sustainability and conservation.
Scotts Bluff National Monument (Nebraska): This monument has served as a landmark for peoples from Native Americans to emigrants on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails and modern travelers. Scotts Bluff is incorporating an all-electric, multi-passenger low-speed vehicle to enable cleaner transportation options to the overlook at the top of Scotts Bluff.
Zion National Park (Utah): Zion, which features sandstone cliffs and slot canyons, is collaborating with Utah Clean Cities to replace three gasoline-powered vehicles with all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and to install 10 EVSE, five of which will be available for public use.