HARRISBURG, Pa., March 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yellow Creek State Park in Indiana County is the first in the system to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of State Parks Director John Norbeck announced today.
"At DCNR, we encourage people to practice conservation every day, so it's important that we practice what we preach," Norbeck said. "The process of 'greening' our practices at Yellow Creek started with an evaluation of every possible emission, including the way we heat and cool; the use of all of our vehicles, boats and mowers; and we even considered the evening camp fires enjoyed by visitors."
The park conducted an audit in 2007 with data from the previous year using the "Climate Leadership in Parks" tool developed for the National Park Service.
Norbeck noted that once the audit was complete, the park began implementing a number of emissions-reduction strategies, including:
- Installation of a wind turbine and the use of bio-diesel, both of which are also used to educate visitors about these alternative energies;
- Using more energy efficient watercraft and lawn mowers;
- Planting native wildflower meadows, significantly reducing the need for mowing;
- Park staff using bicycles instead of motor vehicles to get around the park;
- Using programmable thermostats and more efficient lights bulbs;
- Cleaning with biodegradable soaps; and
- Retrofitting buildings for efficiency.
The park achieved its 20 percent reduction goal in a period of three years.
Yellow Creek Park Manager Ken Bisbee noted that because their impacts included emissions from park's 230,000 annual visitors, the goal could not have been achieved without including them in the efforts.
"We were surprised to find that many of the changes we made were more convenient for our visitors," Bisbee said. "By including information in all of our environmental education programs and by providing examples that can be applied at home, we hope that they are inspired to make changes in their day-to- day habits, having an impact outside the park as well."
Bisbee added that consumers can save money by taking steps to reduce emissions.
"Simply by installing a programmable thermostat, you can save up to 230 gallons of heating fuel over the winter -- just as we did in our Environmental Learning Classroom building," Bisbee said.
Norbeck said that Yellow Creek will serve as a model for the other 116 state parks in the system, the majority of which also have completed audits and are implementing conservation practices.
Visitors to the 2,981-acre Yellow Creek State Park enjoy the sand beach, picnicking and educational programs. The park is named for Yellow and Little Yellow creeks, which create the 720-acre Yellow Creek Lake; a destination for boaters and anglers. The creeks are noted for the high amounts of yellow clay in the banks and bottoms. The lake and park are an important rest stop for migrating birds.
For more information about Yellow Creek State Park, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us and choose "Find a Park."
Media contact: Christina Novak, 717-772-9101
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources