Greenest Park Icon 2014

Greenest Park

The Yellowstone Park Foundation supports projects that reduce Yellowstone's ecological footprint, increase operational efficiency, and better preserve environmental resources.


Mammoth Lighting Improvements

Mammoth Lighting Improvements

The 33 historic "acorn" lights along sidewalks within the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District are presently lit with mercury vapor lamps that are outdated and an energy-wasting technology. The light fixtures also create upward light pollution, obscuring the night sky. The Mammoth Lighting Improvements project will replace these lamps with energy-efficient LEDs in new fixtures that direct light downward, concentrating light where it is needed and minimizing light pollution. This retrofit will reduce energy costs in Mammoth by at least $2,000 a year, contributing to Yellowstone’s energy reduction goals.


Bechler Ranger Station

Bechler Ranger Station

The Bechler Ranger Station is a National Historic Site and a jumping off point for visitors to access some of the more remote areas of the Park. It plays an important role for Yellowstone rangers in providing visitor access,Park resources, and backcountry operations. In 2012, Yellowstone Park Foundation supported a Park partnership with Montana State University’s Community Design Center to help create a sustainability plan for updating area housing, visitor amenities and energy supply. The site’s design challenges include average annual snow loads exceeding seven feet, the need to have its own power supply and a goal to minimize visual impact in the historic district. Design options call for several super-insulated small homes using passive solar orientation, and later this winter 2013, the Park will determine a final concept.


Greenest Park Initiative

Yellowstone Environmental Stewardship (YES!) Initiative

The Greenest Park Initiative is a multi-year plan to help Yellowstone meet its ambitious greening goals by the year 2016. These goals will be achieved through projects specifically designed to help the Park save energy, conserve water, reduce waste, increase efficiency of transportation, promote green purchasing, and enhance sustainability leadership and education. Yellowstone staff already have several projects underway, with the help of private and public partners, donors, interns, and Park visitors.

Learn more about Greenest Park Initiative projects


Mammoth Area Irrigation & Conservation Project

Mammoth Hot Springs Officer's Row

The Mammoth Hot Springs' irrigation system is in place to preserve the historic integrity of the Fort Yellowstone area, including more than 15 acres of Kentucky blue grass and cottonwood trees that were planted by the U.S. Cavalry over a century ago. The 1980s system has numerous leaks and faulty sprinkler heads, and is operated on an antiquated pre-set timer that results in millions of gallons of water being wasted. It is estimated that it uses 200,000+ gallons of water every evening of the summer! In 2011, design work began on a system that would cut water use by 60% by sensing humidity and ground moisture levels, determining if and for how long the sprinklers should operate. The second phase of the project will occur in 2012-2013 and will involve the actual procurement and installation of the new state-of-the-art equipment.


Energy Efficiency of Historic Buildings

Lamar Buffalo Ranch Solar Energy

Yellowstone's historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch has become an important home base for hundreds of youth participants in Expedition: Yellowstone! each spring and fall, and for students of the Yellowstone Institute each summer. It is a showcase for promoting environmental stewardship, such as through the use of solar energy. The Yellowstone Park Foundation is developing partnerships to obtain and install high-efficiency windows and doors throughout existing buildings to maximize the Ranch's exemplary use of low-impact infrastructure and renewable energy.