Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the USA, established in 1872. At the park’s 125th anniversary in 1997, a question arose asking what could be done to preserve and protect the national park for the next 125 years. This question resulted in the slogan “The Greening of Yellowstone”.
The project was dubbed Yellowstone Environmental Stewardship (YES!), which includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, reducing electric consumption by 15%, reducing fossil fuel consumption by 18%, reducing water consumption by 15%, and diverting 100% of solid waste from landfills. These goals continue to be at the forefront of park goals and will continue to be pursued at full force. Currently, the park is diverting up to 90% of solid waste from landfills, and the last 10% are in the works. In the following paragraphs many other strategies and projects are laid out showing how the park has fulfilled its goals.
The new visitor center located near Old Faithful Geysers was completed on August 25, 2010. The building received LEED gold building rating. One unique strategy employed in the design of this building is the concrete that was preserved and crushed from the old visitor center, then used as fill throughout the new structure.
Another large undertaking is the West Yellowstone Compost Facility built approximately 4.5 miles north of West Yellowstone, MT completed in 2003. This facility is roughly the size of two football fields and takes care of the park’s composting and recycling needs. As stated above, 90% of all solid waste from the park is diverted from the landfill. Plastic water bottles have been the majority of recycled items given the 40 tons recycled in 2010. This recycling facility has also developed the first ever propane container recycling effort. This is extremely important to the park, as a result of the hundreds of containers trashed each week in the park. A process has been developed to retrieve the left over propane inside the tank as well as a method to puncture and crush the tank into a recyclable state making it a likely candidate for the recycling facility. This effort has led to a similar goal to recycle bear repellent spray cans.
Throughout the park there are many concession stands using cooking oil that can be turned into biofilms that power anything ranging from unmodified vehicles to boilers. Within the last year more than 1000 gallons were turned into biofilms.
Due to the amazing strides the park has made throughout the past decade other Corporations are becoming involved to further these efforts. In 2009, Yellowstone National Park and Michelin Tires came together to create the Fuel Efficient Truck Tire Collection, available through Michelin North America.
For more information about YES! check out the links below.