Responsible Tourism in America’s Wild Spaces

More than half a million people visit Denali National Park and Preserve each summer.  During the tourism season, large amounts of trash are generated, creating unique challenges for park managers and nearby communities.

Reducing Waste in National Parks

The National Parks Zero-Landfill Initiative was created to find better ways to manage the 100 million pounds of trash produced when nearly 331 million people visit America’s national parks each year. And we are. Yosemite National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Denali National Park are pilot parks on the leading edge of an exciting movement toward more sustainable tourism.

This project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous support of Subaru of America, Inc. Thanks to the additional support of the National Parks Conservation Association, Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture, Denali Education Center, park stakeholders, local youth, and Denali community partners, we’re being responsible stewards because who we are is what we leave behind.

Meeting Unique Challenges

Today, visitors to Denali will find recycling bins throughout the park for aluminum, glass, and plastic #1, #2, and #5. Reusable bags, must, and water bottles are available to purchase in gift shops.  Many boxed lunches are now fully recyclable.  Behind the scenes, new equipment and partnerships are making operations more efficient and sustainable.

These changes are making a big difference, and its easy to help! Visitors are an important part of the solution.  By recycling properly and reducing waste, visitors help conserve resources and protect parks.

For detailed information, visit the Zero Landfill Initiative homepage.

Youth Ambassadors

Students in local schools are embracing the Denali Zero-Landfill Project and making positive changes in our communities.  Leading by example, Denali Zero-Landfill Ambassadors are creating recycling programs, managing compost processes, talking with business leaders and inspiring others to make more sustainable choices.

The Youth Ambassador Program asks students to solve problems of waste in their communities.  The program utilizes service learning models to have the students go out into their own communities each year and ask questions about their own waste, the sustainability of their lifestyles, and local and global community impact.

For more information on local recycling programs, please visit the Denali Borough website.

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How do you reduce waste and minimize your footprint when you visit national parks?

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