National Park Service Publishes Updated Green Parks Plan

WASHINGTON – In conjunction with Earth Day, the National Park Service (NPS) released the third edition of the Green Parks Plan last week setting refreshed goals and objectives to advance sustainable park operations.

The updated Green Parks Plan introduces a bold vision for national parks to attain net-zero status by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving energy and water, reducing solid waste, transitioning to green transportation, and fostering culture of sustainability inside and outside of parks. The refreshed plan also affirms the NPS’s commitment to work toward phasing out single-use plastics in our parks nationwide over the next decade in support of Secretary of the Interior Order 3407 and Executive Order 14057.

“Since its inception in 1916, the NPS has been a global leader in protecting our heritage and our planet. Today, the NPS is renewing its operational sustainability goals with a bold vision to attain net-zero status in America’s parks,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “As we work towards our net-zero vision, we also strive to enhance and demonstrate the critical role parks play in mental, physical, and spiritual health.”

The Green Parks Plan is one component of the NPS response to climate change, outlined in the the NPS Climate Change Response Strategy. While the Climate Change Response Strategy serves as an in-depth strategic plan for how NPS will mitigate and adapt to climate change, the Green Parks Plan provides direction for how the NPS will advance sustainability in its own operations and facilities.

The updated Green Parks Plan identifies five goal areas:

  • Be Climate Friendly and Climate Ready – Combat the climate crisis by achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • Be Energy Smart and Water Wise – Achieve net-zero water use and net zero energy for facilities and operations
  • Buy Green and Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Achieve net-zero waste and sustainable procurement
  • Green Our Rides – Adopt and support zero-emissions transportation methods
  • Foster a Sustainability Ethic – Engage the NPS workforce, partners, visitors, stakeholders, and communities to support and participate in sustainability, climate resilience, and environmental justice

The NPS released the first edition of its Green Parks Plan in 2012. This update incorporates advancements in science and technology as well as new legislation and executive orders. It streamlines and consolidates previous goals and ensures they are supported by strategic-based objectives. For more details about the Green Parks Plan, visit the sustainability in national parks webpage.