During the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890s, thousands of people rushed madly to the Klondike Gold Fields in the Yukon Territory of Canada in search of gold. Few cared about the effects of environmental damage or thought about conserving precious resources or energy. Much has changed since then and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (KLGO) is now taking part in its own green rush. The park is working toward reducing its carbon footprint and enhancing its recycling program.
One significant area where the park has reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is by using electric vehicles (EVs), including four Global Electric Motorcars (GEMs) and one electric step van. The vehicles have enabled the park to reduce its consumption of gasoline by approximately 1480 gallons per year and cut CO2 emissions by 28,955 lbs annually. They also save money! The EVs have an operating cost of 11 cents per mile as compared to an average of 36 cents per mile for petroleum-based vehicles. These alternative fuel vehicles are used daily during summer and are a common sight in the Skagway Historic District. The park has also replaced the fuel oil heat in 4 historic buildings with renewable hydro powered electric heat and further reduced CO2 emissions from park operations by 37,954 lbs annually.
The park is making strides for going green in other areas as well by expanding its green procurement and alternative energy potential. Solar power and bio-based or certified “green” lubricants, oils and cleaners are being used in park operations. New recycle bins have been placed in park buildings, more recycled products are used in the workplace and 3 water bottle filling stations have been installed in public buildings to of “one time use” plastic bottles from the waste stream.
In 2014 KLGO completed a comprehensive GHG inventory that scrutinized every possible emissions source from park operations, facilities and vendors. Through this process, operational decisions to reduce our local anthropogenic impacts on climate have been implemented. These actions will allow the park to reduce GHG emissions by 40% from the 2013 baseline by 2023. As a result of establishing this climate action plan KLGO was recognized as the 121st Climate Friendly Park.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park continues to preserve park resources for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Today’s visitors are invited to participate in the “Green Rush” and use the recycling bins at the National Park Visitor Center*, the International Trail Center*, Junior Ranger Activity Center and the Mascot Saloon* (* Indicates locations of water fountains and water bottle filling stations). All located along Broadway Street in the heart of the historic district. These green initiatives will enable staff to interpret the Klondike Gold Rush and its impacts upon people and the land in a safe and clean environment for many years to come.