What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to visit Yellowstone this weekend!
A variety of public events are scheduled in West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana, to bring attention to the role each individual can play in protecting our environment.
This is also the first weekend of the season visitors can enter the park’s north and west entrances and take private vehicles into Old Faithful, Canyon, and Norris.
To top it all off, Saturday is also the start of National Park Week, with the National Park Service offering free entry to Yellowstone and all other national parks.
On Saturday, the community of West Yellowstone will host a day packed with Earth Day events including demonstrations by the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and U.S. Forest Service, craft tables and face painting, and Earth Day snacks and drinks. The events will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn.
The celebration shifts to Gardiner on Sunday, with a free community electronics collection event from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00p.m.at the Yellowstone Association’s offices near the Roosevelt Arch. This event is an opportunity for any community members to bring in their outdated electronics (TVs, computers, cell phones, etc.) for recycling.
At the same time, visitors and residents will also have an opportunity to drop off used or expired bear spray canisters and see the new bear spray canister recycling machine.
After the recycling event, there will also be a showing of the documentary “Tapped” which explores the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the proliferation of single-use disposable plastic water bottles.
Participants at both events will have a chance to win a variety of Earth Day prizes.
This weekend’s Earth Day events are sponsored by the Yellowstone Environmental Coordinating Committee (YECC). The group includes all those who are involved in protecting the park and serving park visitors and residents: the National Park Service, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Delaware North, Medcor, Yellowstone Park Service Stations, Yellowstone Association, and Yellowstone Park Foundation.
Through the efforts of the YECC, Yellowstone has been able to make numerous strides towards environmental sustainability in recent years. For instance, through the work of the YECC partners, Yellowstone was able to divert nearly 73% of its solid waste from entering the landfill last year. This amounts to over 3,300 tons of material in 2011.