Coming soon: Electric car charging stations in National Parks - SNEWS

Earlier this year, the National Parks Conservation Association released a study titled, "How America is Failing to Protect Our National Parks, People and the Planet from Air Pollution." News article after news article followed, reporting that 96 percent of parks have hazardous air quality.

"If we don't take immediate action to combat this, the results will be devastating & irreversible," NPCA wrote on Twitter.

Action will be multi-pronged, but for starters, the National Park Service (NPS) has ramped up sustainability efforts with water refill stations, low-flow toilets, LED lighting, and now, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

The NPS is partnering with the National Park Foundation, BMW of North America and the U.S. Department of Energy to install 100 EV charging ports in and around at least 13 National Parks and recreation areas.

"We know that people are creatures of convenience and habit," the NPS wrote. "Adding new EV charging ports in these places helps link people to parks in a different way and increases the likelihood of EV drivers driving longer distances and finding a more convenient way to make their outdoor recreation plans a reality."

Vehicles are one of the major contributors to the pollution in National Parks, according to the study. And traffic congestion is rampant in the parks, as visitors flock for the treasured landscapes. The hope is that expanding EV access will also minimize greenhouse gas contributions and reduce cars' overall carbon footprint.

"The automobile has long been central to the great American vacation in national parks," the NPS wrote. "While our treasured landscapes offer familiar vistas time after time, the automobile has changed greatly, and parks want to meet the needs of visitors who use electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Through this joint effort, electric vehicle drivers will have more places to charge the car while recharging themselves with nature and parks."

Charging stations will be installed in the following 13 sites:


Ryan Zinke

In effort to hike national park fees, Zinke blames free visits

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke earlier this week claimed that too many Americans access national parks free of charge, which isn't helping in the effort to shrink a $11.7 billion maintenance backlog. On Tuesday, Zinke in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee more

Man riding Haibike all-mountain electric bike

E-bikes allowed in National Parks

E-bikes officially won access to National Parks last week, when the National Park Service (NPS) ruled that low-speed models are allowed for now where traditional bikes are allowed. The federal order comes as states and municipal governments grapple with regulating the new form of more

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Sincerely, the national parks

From outdated facilities to crumbling roads to well-traveled trails, many national parks are in need of facelifts with a total price tag of more than $11.6 billion. In order for generations to come to enjoy the parks' wonders and rejuvenating magic, that maintenance backlog must more

Four people jumping at sunset. L.L.Bean partners with national park foundation.

National parks are for everyone, L.L.Bean says

L.L.Bean has committed $3 million to inspire people of all backgrounds and abilities to discover America’s national parks. The 106-year-old outdoor retailer on Thursday announced that it is extending its support of the national parks community with a multi-year, premier more

Rocky Mountain National Park vista on the way to Lost Lake

Mountain bikers get access to trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

Mountain bikers are pumping up their tires in anticipation of Rocky Mountain National Park opening up a piece of trail to off-road cycling for the first time later this year. It’s a small slice of the 415-square-mile park: only two miles of the East Shore Trail, a 6 mile hiking more

bear in Katmai National Park and Preserve

LIVE: We can't stop watching the bears in Katmai National Park

Right now, from your desk, you can watch brown bears fattening up on salmon at Brooks Falls in Alaska's Katmai National Park. You can tune in 24/7 through the National Park Service's Explore live nature cams. Watch as numerous bears—there are about 2,200 in the park—soak in the more

joshua tree national park

Poop, litter pile up in national parks

In national parks across the country, the scene unfolding is as if a babysitter left a child to fend for himself on the playground—more feces, trash, and unruly behavior. It's been nearly two weeks since the start of the government shutdown on Dec. 22 and the forced furloughs of more

mountain biker near flatirons

Poll | Mountain biking in national parks?

Officials recently allowed off-road cycling on a mere two miles of trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, following lengthy and contentious debates between conservationists and mountain bikers. It's obviously a charged topic, so we want to know which side you're on. Does a more

A pop-top camper van nestled by rocks in Joshua Tree National Park

Food trucks and WiFi in National Park campgrounds?

When Starbucks moved to Yosemite National Park, more than 25,000 people signed a petition against the coffee giant setting up camp and 80 percent of SNEWS readers opposed it. Petitioners said multinational corporations and amenities would rob the natural place of its essence. But more