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National Park Service seeks to make itself, well, greener

Thousands of cars, pickup trucks and minivans carry visitors to Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks. They leave behind tons of plastic water bottles, granola bar wrappers and banana peels.

Mount Rainier staff have a two-hour, 60-mile drive just to get from one area of the park to another.

Heating the Hurricane Ridge visitor center at Olympic costs almost $12,000 a year for diesel fuel.

Not exactly what most people would consider the "green" image expected of the National Park Service. But that's about to change. Working with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Parks Service has launched the Climate Friendly Parks program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Our national parks can be used to demonstrate the impacts of climate change," said Shawn Norton, who heads the climate program for the Park Service.

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