GreenPath: Yosemite Environmental Programs

It has been said that we do not inherit the earth from our fathers, we merely borrow it from our children. With that thought in mind, DNC Parks and Resorts, Inc. created GreenPath®. GreenPath is a formal, documented and comprehensive environmental preservation plan, and covers just about everything we could think of to preserve and protect our natural resources. This plan is woven into everything we do - from contributions to environmental organizations to employee volunteerism. GreenPath is our way of making sure that our treasures are available for generations to come.

For more information on DNC Parks & Resorts, Inc.'s environmental programs at this and other DNC properties, visit DNC's GreenPath website.

"We share our concern for the fragile nature of the park. We continuously look for ways to minimize the impact of our business on the environment. We play an active role in supporting the National Park Service's resource management process."

-- DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.

Green Guide

Yosemite Green Guide

In addition to tips on how to ‘go green’ in Yosemite, page 2 of the Green Guide has a fantastic Yosemite Valley map with shuttle bus stops, bike trails, restroom locations, and an inset map of the Yosemite Village area showing the location of the Visitor’s Center and more.

Nature Rules™!  When you're in Yosemite, remember to...

Nature Rules

Podcast: It's Good To Be a Zero - The High Sierra Camps' Zero Waste Initiative.

Explore with Alex Lin, UC Merced intern, the developing initiative to make the famous High Sierra Camps in Yosemite "zero waste".  This podcast was produced by Andrew West, with special assistance from Debora Sanches and Emily Jacobs, all ith DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite.

Listen to the Podcast

Recycling in Yosemite

Facts & How To's

Recycling Center in Yosemite Village
DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite (DNC) has one of the most extensive waste diversion programs in California and has been recognized by the state's Integrated Waste Management Board as one of the best programs for 14 consecutive years (1993 – 2007). More than 35% of operations-produced materials are collected to be recycled, diverting from the landfill 41% of operational waste. In 2009, DNC recycled 624 tons and diverted another 1026 tons from landfills. DNC's waste diversion program incorporates recycling, reuse, organic waste diversion, educational programs and green purchasing practices. Cost savings through our waste diversion were $138,000 in 2009.  DNC's waste diversion program has made it possible for Yosemite National Park and DNC to become leaders in waste reduction

DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite

  • Diverts over 1,000 tons annually or over 41% of its waste
  • Recycles 35% of its waste
  • Recycles 33 different materials and 624 tons annually
  • Produces various educational materials such as tray liners, cups and tent cards that urge visitors to recycle along with giving tours of the recycling program to guests

Use green containers for the following recyclable items: 

  • Plastics
  • Glass
  • Colored glass
  • Aluminum

Use brown trash cans for:

  • Food
  • Other Wastes

The Recycling Center at Yosemite Village is currently open Monday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Wildlife Interaction

People borrow a portion of natural habitat from a wide range of animals when visiting, working or living in Yosemite. Anyone spending time in the Park is responsible for minimizing human impact on wildlife by following simple rules, such as proper food storage.


Bears breaking into vehicles containing improperly stored food contribute to most wildlife incidents in Yosemite. Avoiding this kind of occurrence is the goal of DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite’s (DNC) Wildlife Awareness Program. Educational messages and displays can be found in restaurant areas, stores and guest books throughout the park.

DNC's interpretive programs and employee training play an important role in keeping guests and associates informed about Yosemite’s human-wildlife issues. DNC is also a member of Yosemite’s Bear Council, helping NPS in its task to minimize human-wildlife interactions.

Non-Native Plants Removal

Non-native plants removal
DNC Parks and Resorts provides staff to assist and lead volunteer groups in the removal of non-native plants, primarily from our land assignments in Yosemite National Park. The projects are performed in conjunction with the National Park Service and take place every July though early August. Target plants include Bull and Star Thistle, Dock, Mustard, Himalayan Blackberry and Woolly Mullein. These plants are very invasive and pose a serious threat to Yosemite's native plants and its ecosystem. Call Yosemite's Volunteer office (209) 379-1850 if you or your group are interested in volunteering. 

Awards & Recognition

How to be Green!
Below is a list of environmental awards that DNC P & Resorts has received for our environmental initiatives:
  • 2008 DNC Parks & Resorts received the National Park Service Environmental Achievement Award for its recycling programs in Yosemite and Yellowstone.
  • 2007 IMEX Green Meetings Award
  • 2004 American Hospitality &Lodging Association “Stars of the Industry” Enviro-Management Award
  • 2003 Department of Interior Environmental Achievement Award (Waste Prevention)
  • 2002 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award
  • Odyssey Award
  • Vision 2020 Award
  • 2002 Department of Interior Environmental Achievement Award (Honorable Mention)
  • State of California "Flex Your Power" (Certificate of Recognition)
  • 1997 – 2007 WRAP Award (Waste reduction Award Program)
  • 2002 The Travel Industry Association's Odyssey Award for the Environmental management system (EMS)

Biodiesel Cooperation

Biodiesel - reduce, reuse and recycle!
DNC P&R at Yosemite's kitchens make use of more than 25 tons of vegetable oil each year. Currently, DNC is working cooperatively with Bio-Tech, a local business located in Coarsegold, CA, to haul our used vegetable oil to a process plant in Fowler, CA. There, our used kitchen grease will be made into Biodiesel. 

Sustainable Food Practices

Earth Day 2006
Most of the restaurants operated by DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite incorporate as many organic and sustainable food products as possible in their menus including grains, legumes, flour and sugar. We use free-range beef, antibiotic- and hormone-free pork, organic turkey and seafood that is approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.  Most importantly, we partner with California food producers such as Mary's Free Range Chicken, Lundberg Family Farms, Open Space Meats, TD Willey Farms, California Olive Ranch, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Cowgirl Creamery, Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, and more. Find more information in the Yosemite Dining Guide.

Purchasing Practices

Minimal packaging is just one of the details we factor in.
At DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. it is our intent to maintain an Environmentally Friendly policy when placing orders for any product or service.  Whenever appropriate, preference may be given to items and suppliers adopting policies including, but not limited to, reduced packaging, post-consumer recycled content, readily recyclable materials, biodegradable ingredients, etc.  Preference may also be given to suppliers with policies of using and taking back reusable packaging and shipping pallets.

Hybrid Technology

Yosemite's Hybrid Shuttle Fleet
As of March 2006, Yosemite is the only National Park running Electric Hybrid buses on our shuttle loop, and we have the only 100% Electric Hybrid shuttle fleet in the Nation.  Our FREE shuttle system runs 365 days a year and transports over 5 million guests annually.  The buses produce 90% fewer emissions than traditional buses and are significantly quieter than any other commercial vehicles on the road.  In addition, the fuel economy has increased by nearly 40%.  When you come to Yosemite, park your car and ride the shuttle, it’s our “Electromagnetic Thing of Beauty”!!


In addition to the electric hybrid fleet, in 2009 DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite purchased four hybrid diesel tractor cabs that replaced early 1980's vintage GMC and Chevrolet models. The old tractors were originally designed for gasoline usage and latter converted to propane. The new tractors propel open air trams that transport riders and their interpretive guides through a two-hour tour of Yosemite Valley. The new hybrids are expected to be cleaner, producing 80% less emissions than conventional diesel engines, and significantly more fuel efficient than the older tractors.


You can find out more about our Hybrid Busses in this article, Green Ride in a Great Park, pulished in FleetOwner magazine. 


Sharing the Knowledge

Sharing the message with Guests and Residents
DNC P & R at Yosemite is committed to having our Yosemite guests connect to the resource by providing a multitude of educational and interpretive opportunities on a year round basis.  Our aim is to create memories, stimulate a curiosity about the park and lead people towards the goal of park stewardship. 

Our programs compliment the variety of programs that all park partners provide and we target a few niches such as: children and family programs, evening activities, special groups coming to Yosemite for conferences or celebrations that want tailored programs, holiday programming, performing arts and more.  We also host a yearly celebration on Earth Day in the mall of Yosemite Village along with most of the other Park Partners.

Green Products

Green Products in Yosemite
You'll find earth-friendly products throughout the park in gift shops and grocery stores. Learn a little more about green products here.

High Sierra Camp Restoration

A Labor of Love

Reducing the Footprint

Find out more about what we are doing to help preserve the environment in these beloved High Sierra Camps.

Create Your Own GreenPath

It only takes a few small steps to make a huge impact on our world. Try a few of these tips at home and get on the path to a greener future:

Walk and bike more
Take advantage of public transportation
To conserve gas, keep car tires inflated, obey the speed limit and get regular tune-ups
Recycle bottles, cans, plastic and paper
Compost food waste
Switch light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs
Turn down heat or air conditioning while you're sleeping or away from home
Turn off electronics, including lights, when not in use
Utilize power strips to shut off electronics and conserve standby power when not in use
Water your lawn and garden in the evenings to reduce evaporation
Install low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads
Choose local, seasonal and organic foods
Buy free-range, grass-fed beef and organic dairy products