Grand Canyon National Park is visited by millions of people from all over the world every year. While it is a pleasure to share the beauty of the Grand Canyon with so many people, it also poses a problem: How do we clean up after 6 million people?
The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most beautiful natural features. The resposibility of keeping the Grand Canyon Grand falls on the shoulders of everyone who visits, but the Park Service has done an excellent job of mitigating the damage from visitors. Here are some ways the Grand Canyon NAtional Park Service protects the Grand Canyon we all love, and some ways you can play your part.
Refill your Water Bottle!
The number one contributor to plastic waste at the park and in the U.S. is plastic water bottles. The Park Service has installed numerous recycling bins along the park’s routes in an effort to curb littering and preserve the park’s natural beauty. Do you part by refilling or recycling your water bottle.
Even better: buy a BPA-free water bottle from a visitor’s center. The proceeds benefit the park and you get a refillable water bottle memorializing your trip to the canyon!
Minimize your carbon footprint during your trip. Plan your route to minimize carbon emissions and travel by bus and train if possible. If you plan on driving your own car, be sure your tires are properly inflated. You will use less gas!
If you are selecting a tour company (nudge nudge), ask how they minimize environmental impacts and contribute to the local economy in order to support the greenest business practices. Voting with your dollars is the best way to make businesses innovate.
Stepping out of the hotel room for awhile? Take the time to adjust your air conditioner and/or heat to the lowest possible setting to minimize energy consumption while you are gone.
To save even more money, turn your hot water heater to “Vacation” or the lowest setting, or just turn off the breaker. This may save significant costs, even if only over a 3-day weekend!
Appliances, such as televisions and computers, can be unplugged because they can draw or “leak” as much as 40 watts per hour even when they are turned off, costing you money even when you are not there.
At the Park
While you are exploring the Grand Canyon or other Northern Arizona sites try to walk whenever you can to save money, enjoy the landscape, and get some exercise after long periods of sitting while traveling. Many Ranger-led programs are a great way to get some exercise and to learn about the Grand Canyon.
If you are in a hurry however, use the free shuttle service at Grand Canyon National Park. Let someone else do the driving while you’re here!
For your safety in the dry climate of the Southwest, you should drink plenty of water. Carry a reusable water bottle with you, and refill as needed. Grand Canyon’s water is some of the cleanest in the country!
If you are a coffee drinker, many cafes and diners will fill a reusable cup that you bring with you. Some might even give you a small discount! This allows you to get your coffee and head out to enjoy the canyon, while still keeping your drink piping hot.
Would you like to learn more?
Calculate your carbon emissions at home and during your travels.
This can give you an idea of just how much money you can save when you travel green!
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Household Emissions Calculator allows you to determine your overall household emissions.
The Do Your Part Calculator allows you to determine carbon emissions for transportation and your household.