The National Park Service is tackling another Yellowstone sustainability project and seeking public input on changes to the existing energy conservation and renewable energy production systems at historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch.
Sustainable energy infrastructure improvements at the ranch are being proposed to conserve energy and water, reduce waste, replace and expand the existing photovoltaic (solar energy) system including storage batteries and related control equipment, and to install a new micro hydro turbine. Energy monitoring equipment would also be installed to monitor energy use and provide information for education purposes. The project will also provide for the ability to explore additional renewable energy technologies in the future.
The Lamar Buffalo Ranch is located approximately 10 miles from the nearest electric service and the existing solar energy system was installed in 1996. Many of the components are at the end of their useful life and buildings are not energy efficient. This project would increase the renewable energy available for use at the ranch and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the current fossil fuel-powered generator currently in operation. The project would also create a model for off-grid environmental stewardship and education in Yellowstone National Park.
Though frequently overlooked, the Lamar Buffalo Ranch is one of the oldest and most historic areas in Yellowstone National Park. The Lamar Buffalo Ranch Historic District consists of five structures including a barn, two residences, a bunkhouse, and corral constructed between 1915 and the 1930s. It began life as a stagecoach stop between Cooke City and Gardiner, and converted in 1907 to house the remaining Yellowstone bison herd — all 28 of them — and remained in that use until 1955. The building were constructed in 1915 and the 1930s (the bunkhouse was built at Soda Butte and moved in 1938. The facility is currently used by the Yellowstone Association for programs.
An EA will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Comments may be submitted on the NPS’ Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) Web site at parkplanning.nps.gov/LamarEA. They may also be hand-delivered during normal business hours to the Mailroom in the park’s Administration Building in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, or mailed to: Compliance Office Attn: Lamar Buffalo Ranch Sustainable Energy EA, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY, 82190. Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail, or in any other way than those specified above. All comments must be received by midnight MDT, May 9, 2014.
Image courtesy National Park Service.