Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

April 05, 2006

Wendy Gibson
Allen James

State Parks Wins National Environmental Award

Environmental Protection Agency Honors Clean Air Efforts at Niagara Falls State Park

(Albany, NY. Wednesday April 5, 2006...) New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Bernadette Castro today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected New York State Parks' Green Park initiative for its Clean Air Excellence Award. The award, in the Transportation Efficiency Innovations category, was presented at a ceremony held today in Washington D.C.

EPA Award Photo

Commissioner Castro said, "We are proud to receive this honor in recognition of our efforts to explore the latest clean energy technologies and embrace their use at Niagara Falls State Park and park properties across the state. Our Green Park plan continues our longstanding commitment to provide recreational and interpretive services to the public in an environmentally responsible manner.

"We are grateful to Governor Pataki and our many public and private partners for their incredible support of these exciting alternative energy programs that will promote cleaner, greener parks for patrons now and well into the future. Today's award reinforces our pursuit of groundbreaking advances that will improve our state parklands and demonstrate to the tens of millions of visitors each year the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of greener products, operations and facilities."

The Awards Program annually recognizes and honors both individuals and organizations that have undertaken the risks of innovation, served as pioneers in their fields, and have helped to improve air quality.

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson said, "Congratulations to the winners of the 2005 Clean Air Excellence Awards. Your innovative, creative projects exhibit the best of our nation's ongoing commitment to advance the steady march toward cleaner air and healthier lives. I appreciate your outstanding work and dedication. Your achievements are not merely personal accomplishments - they are an inspiration to others."

Niagara Falls State Park has become a leader in the move toward using alternate fuel to power vehicles. With a diverse fleet of more than 70 alternate fuel vehicles, including natural gas trolleys that transport more than a quater-million patrons annually, the growing fleet offers electric, hybrid and bio-diesel vehicles. Gasoline and diesel use in the park has been reduced by over 25,000 gallons annually and that number is expected to grow to over 30,000 gallons. This results in a reduction in nitrogen oxide of over 800 lbs, a reduction in carbon monoxide of over 11,700 lbs, and a reduction of over 195,000 lbs of carbon dioxide.

Through partnerships with leading manufacturers of vehicles and utility equipment such as Daimler Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, and the Toro Company, State Parks is working to convert on-road and off-road utility-type equipment such as light utility vehicles, grounds maintenance, off-road and construction to clean fuel. The Green Parks Program has acquired over 780 clean fuel vehicles statewide, and the replacement of vehicles in the Park is part of the effort to change how people are transported, improve air quality, and ultimately establish the Park as a center for alternate fuel technology.

In addition to Niagara Falls, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 172 other state parks and 35 state historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas please call (518) 474-0456 or visit the web site at