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February 24, 2009 3:32 am

Eco-friendly choices make sense for National Parks

Written by Tribune Staff

A recent story in the Casper Star-Tribune outlined the many ways Wyoming's national parks are becoming more environmentally friendly.

Yellowstone currently is implementing a number of new programs. From eco-friendly soap and compostable shampoo and conditioner bottles in hotel rooms to biodiesel-fueled and hybrid vehicles on the parks' roads and a park-wide recycling program, Yellowstone is setting an example for other parks, nationwide, to follow.

Grand Teton National Park and Devils Tower National Monument also are contributing to the environmental movement. Grand Teton now uses 100 percent green power — from solar, wind and water sources — and Devils Tower is switching to hybrid and electric vehicles.

While Wyoming's parks deserve kudos for being at the forefront of this transition, it only makes sense that the parks are making positive changes. The national park system was developed to preserve and protect America's natural treasures.

The ecosystems of the parks often are tremendously fragile. Emissions from vehicles, coupled with human waste and the overall impact of tourist traffic, inflict an enormous toll. Anything that can be done to lessen the impact is the right choice.

By making sure that the cleanest, most eco-friendly and sustainable practices and materials are standard, the park service can ensure the country's most wondrous places will be enjoyed by future generations.