National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation raises support for equipment transition
Photo credits: Sam Miller
Visitors to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore will enjoy quieter wilderness areas – and the park will be one step closer in eliminating its carbon emissions – thanks to the donation of new all-electric battery-powered trail and grounds maintenance equipment from the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation.
With over 100 miles of trail along the beautiful South Shore of Lake Superior, and one million visitors each year, Pictured Rocks devotes extensive time and energy to trail maintenance. By switching from gas-powered equipment to lighter, quieter battery-powered equipment, the park is achieving multiple goals.
Check out the natural beauty of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – and what park staff are saying about the new equipment!
“Transitioning gas powered professional-grade grounds and trail maintenance tools, including chainsaws, pole-saws and brush-cutters, virtually eliminates carbon emissions,” said NPLSF Executive Director Tom Irvine. “The lighter weight, reduced noise and vibration makes the equipment easier and safer to operate.”
This win-win combination inspired Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Superintendent Dave Horne, who wanted his park to take on a green project that was achievable quickly.
“A big thank you to the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation and its partners for the donation of this new battery-powered trail and grounds maintenance equipment. This equipment will not only benefit the park employees who will use it, but it will also benefit the larger environment by reducing unwanted noise and carbon emissions. This donation also sets a great example to other parks of how to embrace a green approach to park maintenance.”
Mark Liles, Trail Supervisor for the park, recognizes how the new tools will benefit his team’s work to fix washed out trails, reroute trails, and lead other projects. “These newer electric tools will allow us to tackle a lot of trail work,” he said, “reducing hazards for our employees and reducing our carbon footprint as well as making it quieter and more enjoyable for folks in the park.”
NPLSF, the nonprofit “friends” group for the five national parks along Lake Superior, catalyzed this project with funding and a recent demonstration event where trail crews tested the equipment.
“Our goal is to help all of Lake Superior’s national parks fully decarbonize their buildings and operations and provide education that inspires park visitors to replicate these projects at home,” said Irvine. “We look forward to showcasing this work at Pictured Rocks, as a model for other parks and to help visitors see that if a remote wilderness park can make the switch to clean, quiet electric equipment, they can too.”
NPLSF is a philanthropic partner of the five national parks of Lake Superior: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Grand Portage National Monument, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw National Historical Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. NPLSF’s “Decarbonize the Parks” initiative is supported by the McKnight Foundation, National Parks Foundation, and Askov Finlayson. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore’s new electric equipment was purchased with a targeted contribution from an individual donor.