February 1, 2010
Now you can learn about protecting national parks while you shop
Yellowstone’s newest gift store has a larger purpose than simply selling mementos of your trip to the Park. It was created to inspire visitors to help protect the national parks they love.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts, operator of lodges, gift shops, restaurants and activities in Yellowstone National Park, has converted its gift shop in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel into an educational facility.
The new store, called “For Future Generations: Yellowstone Gifts” was officially dedicated on January 7, 2010. The space is devoted to informing Park visitors about climate change and offering environmentally friendly products.
The store first opened last summer after a sustainable remodel and the addition of new green products. Since then, interpretive displays have been incorporated into the store design. These new displays focus on the impact of climate change on Yellowstone and other national parks. There is an even a large-screen electronic display that features the Yellowstone Park Foundation’s YES! (Yellowstone Environmental Stewardship) Initiative.
“We want the visitors to know that by recycling an aluminum can, purchasing sustainable products or turning down the heat, they’re not only helping the environment, but they’re also supporting the mission of the National Park Service of ensuring that Yellowstone – and all its inhabitants – remain for future generations to enjoy,” said Beth Pratt, director of Environmental Affairs for Xanterra’s Yellowstone operations.
In keeping with the environmental theme, materials used in the remodeling of the store are reclaimed, recycled or sourced from sustainable operations. For example, shelving was constructed out of reclaimed wood, some of it from buildings in the Park, including from the Old Faithful Inn and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. The new floor was constructed of Tamarac harvested from a healthy forest in Montana. Lighting comes from energy-efficient, minimum-impact LED (Light-Emitting Diodes) bulbs.
Each product sold also has an original “sustainability scorecard” describing its sustainable attributes. Conventional items are offered alongside sustainable options providing shoppers with the necessary information to make gift choices based on their own values. Some of the products for sale include organic cotton t-shirts and coffee, bison dung-paper note cards, and “Foundation Friends” plush animals that represent important Park species and benefit the Yellowstone Park Foundation.
Other displays include information on the threats climate change poses to our national parks, what the various entities in the Park are doing to minimize their environmental impacts, and what techniques visitors can use at home.