Clean Cities National Parks Initiative
Clean Cities partners with the National Park Service (NPS) through the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative to support transportation projects that educate park visitors on the benefits of reducing petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions. This initiative complements the NPS Climate Friendly Parks program by demonstrating the environmental benefits of reducing petroleum use.
Clean Cities works closely with NPS to identify locations that would benefit most from Clean Cities' support. Clean Cities projects and established NPS transportation projects are listed below. If you know of an NPS transportation project that should be featured below, submit your story using the Project Success Story Form.
Acadia National Park
At Acadia National Park, visitors can travel among park destinations, inns, campgrounds, and neighboring communities on the Island Explorer, a bus service powered by propane. This free public transit system, which celebrated its 4-millionth passenger in August 2011, has removed more than 1.3 million vehicles from park and local roads and eliminated the release of more than 13,000 tons of greenhouse gases. Acadia National Park has also been shifting its vehicle fleet from older, less efficient vehicles to hybrids, fuel efficient sedans, golf carts, and cleaner-burning diesel equipment.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway has worked with Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition to reduce petroleum use inside the park. Blue Ridge is acquiring four hybrids and four propane pickup trucks to replace less efficient vehicles dating back to model year 1989. The vehicles are helping raise awareness of sustainability among the park's visitors.
Denali National Park and Preserve
The most visited park in Alaska, Denali National Park and Preserve covers 6 million acres, located 300 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The iconic park is acquiring one plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) and one photovoltaic-powered charging station to help reduce emissions in Denali’s "Front Country," home to several campgrounds, visitor centers, and administration facilities. The PEV will replace a gasoline-powered vehicle typically driven short distances. The charging station, to be constructed by local students, will pave the way for expanded use of PEVs in the area and help educate park visitors on the importance of reducing petroleum use and emissions.
Glacier National Park
Nearly all of Glacier National Park's vehicles and other mobile equipment use alternative fuels. The park's historic Red Bus fleet has been running on propane for more than a decade. In 2007, the park introduced a shuttle system along the popular and scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road. The shuttles, which can run on biodiesel, help reduce traffic congestion and emissions from private vehicles.
Learn more in the video of Glacier's Red Bus fleet from the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
The expansive Golden Gate National Recreation Area is walking the talk by switching from higher-emission vehicles to five new electric vehicles (EVs). Golden Gate, which partnered with San Francisco Clean Cities, is also installing five 220V EV chargers with data collection capability and implementing a biodiesel project for heavy-duty vehicles.
Learn more in a video about electric vehicle chargers at Muir Woods on the Clean Cities YouTube channel.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park runs an environmentally friendly alternative fuel vehicle fleet and a shuttle bus system for park visitors, reducing the number of vehicles on some of the park's busiest roads. The park is also participating in the Climate Friendly Parks program to reduce its transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is adding five hybrid electric vehicles to its fleet. It's also working with Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalition to launch an extensive education and outreach effort designed to eliminate unnecessary engine idling, reduce fuel consumption, and improve local air quality.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has worked with the Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition and the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition to reduce petroleum use inside the park. Biodiesel (B20 to B50) powers more than 50 park vehicles and pieces of heavy equipment. More than a dozen hybrid electric vehicles and neighborhood electric vehicles in the park's fleet help improve air quality and raise awareness among visitors. Black Bear Solar Institute, a local nonprofit organization, is establishing a "Green Gateway" to the park through the installation of 24 publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations in and around the gateway community of Townsend, Tenn.
Learn more in a video about Great Smoky Mountains National Park's alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles from the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Greater Yellowstone Area
The Greater Yellowstone Area, which includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks along with six national forests and two fish and wildlife refuges, is striving to improve air quality and reduce fuel consumption. With support from the Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalition the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee completed a greenhouse gas inventory for fleets and facilities in the Greater Yellowstone Area, and is now developing a comprehensive emissions-reduction plan.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park started using E85 in 1999 and today runs all its vehicles on alternative fuels. Thanks to new funding, the park is adding four propane-powered school buses, two propane-powered pickup trucks, and one electric utility vehicle to its fleet. In addition, park personnel are partnering with the Kentucky Clean Cities Partnership to enhance efforts to educate visitors, employees, and the media about the benefits of using alternative fuels.
Mesa Verde National Park
Invoking the spirit of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, Mesa Verde National Park is working with Southern Colorado Clean Cities to cut harmful emissions. The park is eliminating inefficient vehicles that traveled nearly 400,000 miles, and it is adding four new propane pickup trucks and a propane lawn mower. A propane fueling station will also be installed for park use. Project partners are executing a comprehensive idle-reduction outreach campaign for staff, concessioners, and the park's 500,000 annual visitors.
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) protects a 72-mile, 54,000-acre corridor along one of the world’s great rivers. Regional park and trail destinations within MNRRA are accessible to over 33 million annual visitors to the greater Twin Cities area. The Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition is working with the park to install 12 electric vehicle charging stations at 11 MNRRA sites, helping to reduce emissions and educate park visitors about alternative transportation options.
National Mall and Memorial Parks
The National Mall and Memorial Parks has been a must-see stop in the nation’s capital for hundreds of millions of visitors throughout the mall’s 200-year history. The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition has teamed with the National Mall in an effort to modernize its high-profile fleet. Clean Cities is helping to meet that goal by enabling the mall to acquire two plug-in electric vehicles, four electric vehicle charging stations (two for public use), and idle-reduction technologies. The mall is also partnering with the Propane Education and Research Council to deploy seven propane-powered mowers.
Learn more in a video about propane mowers at the National Mall on the Clean Cities YouTube channel.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park, with more than 3 million annual visitors, is the fifth most-visited park in the NPS system. With support from Northern Colorado Clean Cities, the park is planning to purchase one Toyota Highlander Hybrid and two Chevy Volts, install two electric vehicle charging stations, and boost idle-reduction through technology deployment and a comprehensive education and outreach program.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, which partnered with Alamo Area Clean Cities, is taking steps to reduce pollution in San Antonio. The park is purchasing a propane pickup truck to replace a 2001 gas model along with an EV utility truck to take the place of an outmoded 1998 truck. The park is also installing two 220V EV chargers with data collection capabilities.
Shenandoah National Park
To help keep views along scenic Skyline Drive clear, Shenandoah National Park is acquiring a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, an all-electric vehicle, and three 220V EV chargers. Working in conjunction with Virginia Clean Cities on ways to reduce emissions, Shenandoah is adding 12 propane lawn mowers to replace existing gas models.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will deploy four plug-in electric vehicles, four charging stations, and an air pump that will allow drivers to keep their tires properly inflated. The measures will reduce the environmental impact of the fleet by about 15% compared to a 2010 baseline and will help educate the park's 1.3 million visitors about alternative fuels and fuel-efficient driving. Working with Michigan's Clean Energy Coalition, the park is developing an extensive training and outreach program to educate staff, concessioners, and visitors on the benefits of idle reduction.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is adding an electric utility vehicle, two hybrid electric vehicles, and one hybrid electric bus to its fleet. With help from Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalition, the park is also enhancing its outreach and education efforts. Its idle-reduction campaign encourages visitors, employees, and residents of surrounding communities to avoid unnecessary engine idling.
Learn more in the Yellowstone National Park video from the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Zion National Park
In 2000, Zion National Park introduced a fleet of 21 shuttle buses, which are all powered by propane. By getting visitors out of their cars, the shuttles eliminate more than 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Utah Clean Cities coalition is working with park officials to expand Zion's use of alternative fuels, implement idle-reduction strategies, bring hybrid electric vehicles into its fleet, and promote shuttle use to visitors.
Learn how National Park Service units and Clean Cities coalitions can work together to submit project ideas.
The Clean Cities National Parks Initiative complements the NPS Climate Friendly Parks program, which provides parks with the tools and resources to address climate change within park boundaries and in surrounding communities.