The National Parks surrounding Lake Superior expect to become the first parks in the country to Decarbonize the Parks. The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation has announced that the National Parks on Lake Superior’s shore in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, will begin efforts decommission fossil fuel powered vehicles, implement solar panels and other proven technologies with buildings, with the goal of reducing maintenance and operating costs within the parks. The parks included in the Decarbonize the Parks program are the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Grand Portage National Monument, Isle Royale National Park, the Keweenaw National Historic Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
The program hopes to set standards for other parks to model after. An engineering study suggests to make energy efficiency changes will cost 15 million dollars; most of the funding for decarborizing the parks has already been allocated through various legislation in Washington D.C.. The Decarbonize the Parks program is based on off the shelf proven technologies that many public buildings already use. You can read the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation’s statement on the Decabonize the Parks Program below.
SAINT PAUL, MN: The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation (NPLSF) has announced that five national parks along the lake in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin will be the first in the country to comprehensively decarbonize their buildings and vehicles through a new initiative, Decarbonize the Parks . Together, the five parks — Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Grand Portage National Monument, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw National Historic Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore — are creating a powerful model for other parks and the public to follow .
“The five National Parks along the lake in the three states that share Lake Superior are treasured public lands and the Decarbonize the Parks project is part of a bold vision for protecting the environment around the Great Lakes,” said Minnesota’s U.S. Sen. Tina Smith. “These parks can be a model for the nation for how climate action can be incorporated into our beloved system of National Parks, demonstrating important leadership from Minnesota and the Midwest.”
A new engineering study estimates $15 million will be needed to increase efficiency and replace fossil fuel with solar, batteries, heat pumps, and other proven technology, ultimately costing the parks less than maintaining current operations. Most of the funding will be available through the National Park Service , including new dollars from the Inflation Reduction Act, Great American Outdoors Act, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation. Decarbonization will be completed within four years, project leaders estimate — a swift time frame matching the urgent need for action.
“Lake Superior it is one of the fastest – warming lakes in the world, with declining coldwater fisheries, unstable lake ice, and violent storms that have battered docks and marinas as well as light houses and other treasured resources,” said NPLSF Executive Director Tom Irvine. “With cost – effective solutions and funding opportunities currently available, now is the time to rise to the climate challenge and demonstrate the importance of environmental stewardship.”
The NPLSF- commissioned study by Willdan and Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. ( E3 ) outlines the path to decarbonization for each park. NPLSF will be working with park superintendents and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe), a co – steward at the Grand Portage National Monument and Isle Royale National Park, to begin implementation this year.
“Mitigating climate – related vulnerabilities in parks is a National Park Service priority,” said Denice Swanke, Superintendent, Isle Royale National Park. “The five Lake Superior parks are thrilled to be part of this collaborative partnership to invest in clean energy solutions.”
In addition to governmental, tribal, and philanthropic partners, the project was catalyzed by a key early private sector investment from Askov Finlayson
“Lake Superior is a national treasure, and Askov Finlayson is proud to be the seed investor in this project and to support NPLSF’s bold vision for 100% decarbonization,” said Eric Dayton, Founder and CEO of Askov Finlayson. “Our mission as a company is to Keep The North Cold, and solving the climate crisis means acting now to reduce emissions. It’s exciting to be part of climate leadership in our own backyard that can hopefully serve as a model that inspires further action here in Minnesota and across the country.”
The plan is built around off – the – shelf proven technologies that many people can use in their own homes or businesses. Climate leaders are recognizing the ripple effect of this powerful education opportunity that will inspire more widespread deployment of carb on – reducing solutions.
“Effective deployment of proven technology in place today is a major barrier to progress toward a net carbon – neutral economy,” said Michael Noble , executive director of Midwest energy policy organization Fresh Energy. ” The Decarbonize the Parks project shows how it can be done, helping millions of visitors recognize that if heat pumps can heat and cool park buildings in a northern wilderness, they can work anywhere – both in and outside the parks.”
NPLSF is working to raise continued private investment to maximize the educational and workforce development value of the decarbonization projects, which will include all – electric ATVs , solar, and other fast – growing , affordable zero – carbon strategies