Phil Cameron of Jackson Hole, Wy., has a mission and it’s gaining serious traction. He is working to reduce petroleum use and vehicle emissions. It doesn’t hurt that he’s broadcasting his message in the most stunning of settings, where jagged peaks and shaggy bison help foster a spirit of conservation.
Cameron, the executive director of the Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalition (YTCEC), champions the use of alternative fuels, hybrid vehicles, and idle reduction in the Greater Yellowstone Area, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
“We cover parts of three states, including two national wildlife refuges, numerous gateway communities, two national parks, and six national forests — I love the diversity,” Cameron said. “We work across a landscape rather than within a city limit, and it allows us to connect the efforts of a lot of different agencies and jurisdictions, so they can all work together and learn from one another.”
Working with both national parks, YTCEC recently secured more than $500,000 in funding to support a variety of clean transportation projects that will help protect air quality and reduce fuel use. The two parks have used a portion of the funds to purchase seven Ford Escape Hybrids. Five of them are used in Grand Teton’s highly visible Wildlife Brigade, which teaches park visitors how to avoid wildlife conflicts and manages the park’s “wildlife jams.” The hybrids will see thousands of hours of operation in this first season of use and reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 30 percent.
As part of the project, Yellowstone will purchase a 36-passenger hybrid-electric transit bus, an all-electric utility vehicle, and a charging station powered by existing solar panels. Also, project stakeholders are designing an idle-reduction program that will cut fuel use in ranger vehicles and educate visitors about the downsides of idling throughout the Greater Yellowstone Area.
“We’ll be able to leverage thousands of federal employees to reach out to millions of visitors annually. It’s a great opportunity to showcase these viable alternatives and to support both parks’ commitments to sustainable transportation,” Cameron said.
Get Involved With Clean Cities
For more information about YTCEC, e-mail Phil Cameron at [email protected] or visit www.ytcleanenergy.org. Through the work of nearly 100 local coalitions, Clean Cities advances the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security by reducing petroleum use in transportation. Clean Cities is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy. Find out more at www.cleancities.energy.gov.