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Yosemite National Park debuts new 'green' store and hotel rooms

April 22, 2010 | 12:50 pm

The new, environmentally-friendly themed store

Yosemite National Park is going green(er).

Just in time for Thursday's 40th anniversary of Earth Day, park officials cut the ribbon on two new environmentally friendly concepts in the park.

"Habitat" is a new, eco-friendly store located in Yosemite Village. Operated by Delaware North Cos. Parks & Resorts at Yosemite Inc., the 1,000-square-foot shop is a floor-to-ceiling exhibit of green interior design and retailing.

Store fixtures are made from recycled items used in the park -- displays are supported by bales of recycled cardboard; tables are constructed of stacked, recycled tires topped with recycled glass and reused shelving from the Ahwahnee hotel kitchen; and the cash-register counter is made from wood that was once a Curry Village bar top.

Items for sale in the store are also eco-friendly, including glassware made of recycled wine bottles, jewelry made of recycled metals or paper, and purses that once were computer keyboards, tires or soda-can pop-tops.

The other concept awaits overnight guests at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, where two prototype guest rooms featuring cutting-edge environmentally friendly interior design are now available.

The rooms feature automatically controlled energy-saving cooling and heating systems, insulation made from 85% recycled newspaper, toilets using just more than 1 gallon per flush, and 100% organic-cotton sheets produced in a solar-powered factory.

"A great deal of research and technology is integrated in these rooms, most of it working quietly just beneath the surface," said Keith Erikson, hotel general manager. "Our guests won’t notice many of these elements, but when they cross the threshold and drop their bags, their rooms will be welcoming, comfortable, affordable and, we hope, inspiring."

The new rooms cannot be specifically requested and are assigned on a random basis, offering an opportunity for Delaware North Cos. and the National Park Service to evaluate the success of the overall design, research the durability of eco-friendly products and gather guest feedback from those who stay in the rooms. 

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Habitat, a new store with an environmental theme, has opened in Yosemite National Park. Credit: DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite Inc.

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