National Parks confront climate change

Posted by Christine, April 24, 2012

The National Parks released the mitigation part of the agency’s climate change strategy:

Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service (NPS) has been a world leader in protecting natural and cultural resources. The NPS has preserved many of the country’s greatest treasures and in the process has been a model of resource management. We must extend that leadership to the sustainable management of our facilities and operations to fully carry out our mission of environmental stewardship.

The NPS manages the largest number of constructed assets of any civilian agency in the Federal Government. We operate and maintain more than 67,000 structures spread across 397 national parks that account for more than 50 million square feet of constructed space (such as visitor centers and historic structures), more than 4 million acres of maintained landscapes (such as campgrounds and battlefields), 17,000 miles of trails, and more than 3,000 utility systems. We are designing new facilities and renovating existing buildings to operate in a much more sustainable manner and working to reduce their overall environmental impacts.

The Green Parks Plan (GPP) defines a collective vision and a long-term strategic plan for sustainable management of NPS operations. A critical component of the implementation of the GPP will be informing and engaging park staff, visitors, and community partners about climate change and sustainability to broaden opportunities to foster change.