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Grand Canyon Park Service Commits to Green Practices to Help Conserve This Natural Wonder

Colorado River rafting buffs and tourists may or may not have noticed that in recent years, Arizona's Grand Canyon, so famous for its red rocks and blue sky, is becoming green. Far from being alarmed, however, the canyon's visitors are pleased. As it turns out the greening is actually a good thing, reflecting a new commitment by the National Parks Service and other businesses that work within the park boundaries to implement more eco-responsible practices throughout the region. In order to reduce its impact on this pristine area, the park administration is aggressively taking measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water, boost recycling, and make use of alternate sources of energy -- such as the ample sunlight found in this beautiful desert setting.

As a result of this renewed commitment to reducing the human carbon footprint in this area, there are now recycling bins located on or near all of the most popular trails and interpretive centers. Visitors and residents can now recycle aluminum, glass, paper, cardboard, plastic, and even automobile oil and antifreeze. Thanks to these new policies the park has already seen a big reduction in the amount of waste sent to local landfills.

Water and its use continue to be major issues throughout the southwest, and the semi-arid region of the Grand Canyon feels the impact too. In order to do its part to ease the pressure, the park has a water reclamation facility that is able to recycle wastewater and use it for irrigation and other non-potable functions.

Transportation in the area has gone green too. All tour buses in the part now run on clean-burning natural gas. The park is composting the waste from the many burros that carry visitors in and out of the canyon.

New construction in the park now must meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards. This is a very high standard indeed, as somewhat less that 25% of all "green" projects that apply for this distinction are denied.

LEED, is recognized throughout the world as THE green building certification system. It was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in March 2000, and provides building contractors and owners with a framework for implementing practical and measurable green building designs, construction techniques and practices, environmental operations and maintenance solutions. This usually includes such practices as the use of solar panels (now found on visitors and interpretive centers in the Grand Canyon) or other alternative energy sources, waste water collection and re-use, actual building materials used, water use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design, etc. In spite of this huge hurdle, there is now at least one building in the Grand Canyon that can claim LEED certification.

Many of commercial businesses and guides that lead Colorado River raft trips have happily noticed the efforts of groups who have been replanting native plants while removing invasive species, an effort geared toward supporting the region's delicate ecosystem.

Of course, Colorado River whitewater rafting outfitters have long supported and encouraged greening and conservation of this spectacular natural world wonder. They have been contributing in many ways, not just because it's the source of their livelihood, but also because some of these business owners grew up here, and all recognize the importance of preserving this landmark for future generations.

To do their part, all rafters on commercial white water trips pay one dollar per day which is donated to the Grand Canyon Conservation fund. The guides are all educated, not just in the history of the canyon and the locations of landmarks, but also in helping all visitors do their part to leave the river in better condition than they found it. Many outfitters are already using bio-fuels to power their rafts, while others use only good old-fashioned oar-powered rafts and kayaks. Virtually all the commercial outfitters have committed to using only eco-responsible power sources for their motorized rafts, and update their motors as newer greener ones become available.

For those who have the opportunity to raft the mighty Colorado through the Grand Canyon, if they weren't "green" when they set out, they have certainly learned to appreciate "green" concepts by the time they leave the park.

About Author Stephen Daniels :

Hatch River Expeditions <a href="" target="_blank"></a> is a commercial rafting outfitter offering Grand Canyon river raft trips that will thrill and educate all participants. Skilled guides will take you on the adventure of a lifetime, showing you the river and canyon as few see it, will make sure that all your senses are well stimulated, and will educate you about the importance of conservation to preserve this natural wonder of the world.

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Article Added on Friday, July 13, 2012
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