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Cuyahoga Valley wants to be a "climate friendly park"

Marc Lefkowitz  |  11/21/13 @ 10:00am  |  Posted in Explore

Not satisfied with being the green escape for 1 million yearly visitors, Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) will actively seek to reduce the climate impact of its operation and educate visitors about its efforts.

Waterfall in the CVNP<br />Cuyahoga Valley National Park<br />The Towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park<br />

The steward of 33,000 acres of forest, rivers, trails and buildings, CVNP is aspiring to be a “Climate Friendly Park,” an EPA program where currently 106 national parks are reducing resource consumption, cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and educating staff and the public about climate change and sustainability.

Climate Friendly Parks (CFP) Program began as a partnership with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Park Service (NPS) to help parks understand the concepts of climate change and in turn communicate these concepts and success stories to park staff, visitors, and partners.

NPS staff, partners, and sustainability/climate change experts gathered in April, 2013 to hold a Climate Friendly Parks Workshop to better understand and discuss overall sustainability concepts, ways to reduce park emissions and energy consumption, and the likely impacts of climate change on the park. Analysis by the park completed for the workshop identified purchased electricity, transportation and stationary combustion (heating/cooling systems), as the key impacts of the park. Strategies and a list of proposed actions were developed by working groups.

CVNP has identified the following goals to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions produced by park operations:

  • Reduce energy use consumption emissions to 30% below 2008 levels by 2020
  • Reduce waste emissions to 50% below 2008 levels by 2020
  • Reduce transportation emissions to 20% below 2008 levels by 2020
  • “In addition to reducing GHG emissions, we plan to increase climate change and sustainability education and outreach efforts,” said Paul Stoehr, Acting Superintendent. “We will continue our restoration efforts in the park as well as complete a vulnerability study to protect park resources from the likely impacts of climate change.”

The Climate Friendly Parks designation is the most recent effort in the park’s desire to become more sustainable. Efforts to date have included lighting conversions to LED, increasing the park’s recycling and solid waste diversion, etc. To view the CVNP Climate Action Plan.

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