Leave No Carbon Footprints In National Parks

Montana 165 Green Blizzard’s mission is to help readers whittle down their personal carbon footprints with insights and information to make smarter, less environmentally impacting consumer decisions. Our governments can only do so much, and as citizens we need to compliment these broad-reaching pubic efforts with everyday minor civic choices of our own.

One of our readers, Steve Tuttle (Baltimore, Maryland) shared these observations with Green Blizzard about his experience while camping at a few of our country’s most inspiring national parks and the mindless waste being discarded at these national treasures.

Steve Tuttle shared this experience with the Green Blizzard staff.

This past summer I had the pleasure of joining my oldest son on a Boy Scout camping trip out west. The fresh water lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains was the perfect setting for a wonderful week. The following week, the rest of my family and 14 other families met in Jackson Hole for a weeklong adventure through the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone NP and Cody, Wyoming. This was a trip of a life time. I was and still am in awe of the Tetons, the flora and fauna in Yellowstone, and the excitement of a dude range in Cody. In my humble opinion, it doesn’t get much better than this. But I have some concerns about the long-term stability and sustainability of these beautiful places. Some of my concerns were based on the waste at camp and in our national parks and lack of respect for our natural heritage.

At Boy Scout camp, we used plastic utensils, water bottles, and Styrofoam cups; all of it thrown in dumpsters with no recycling or composting. There were over 200 people at this camp the week we were there. The camp runs for 8 weeks. Take a minute, do the math and you can understand my concern. This is just one camp out of thousands.  It’s disconcerting and unacceptable. There are alternatives! During the adventure through the Tetons and Yellowstone, I saw an all too familiar site, discarded plastic bottles, utensils, and Styrofoam food containers.

Along some of the most beautiful streams and rivers I have ever seen, I saw tangled fishing line with rusted hooks and lead shot-weights. Along some of the back country trails we hiked, I saw old lead buckshot and shot gun shells off the beaten path.

Scientists say it will take 600 years for fishing line to breakdown. Lead buckshot and fishing weights poison the fish and birds that ingest it and fishing line will strangle some of our most majestic birds from bald eagles to ravens to hawks. On a weekly basis, I hear or read about new products, outdoor ecogear and supplies that will protect our environment and save our wildlife and fish. Unfortunately, the products are expensive and the call for change isn’t loud enough, but, there are alternatives.

We are blessed with a vast and varied natural heritage. We can choose to preserve and protect or to ignore and destroy the beauty of our great outdoors, let’s take the high road and protect it. There are alternatives!

As Rachel Carson wrote “Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species –man—acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world.”

Interested in learning more about how the U.S National Park play an important role in our environment, check out these books:

newsletter-keithpicTwo other Green Blizzard good reads: Fast Food: Think of the Carbon Impact and Car Color – Light Versus Dark


About the author

Keith Blizzard

A life-long environmentalist, Keith set out on the never ending journey of adjusting his lifestyle to a more sustainable one, with a goal of annually shrinking his carbon footprint. When he looked around for a dependable source of meaningful carbon footprint reduction ideas, it was pretty lame - so he launched Green Blizzard loaded with eco-friendly lifestyle tweaks. When he's not managing Green Blizzard, you'll find him on the trails around Mid Coast Maine with his trusty trail companion mutt, Moose.