The Trailmaster has been a longtime promoter of green transport to our parks. I’ve been encouraged by the increasing number of opportunities to travel to parks and trailheads by public transit.
Like 99 percent of all visitors to California’s state and national parks, I get there by car. With that in mind, I created the MPG Adventures Program (More Parks Per Gallon) to help hikers get to our parks in the most environmentally-friendly way. MPG Adventures are driving tours with a difference and link the journey—in an environmentally friendly vehicle—with the destination—the friendly environments of our state and national parks.
Recently I’ve become intrigued by another way to reach parks and trailheads: ZEVs (Zero Emission Vehicles). I first started noticing ZEVs in the parking lots at trailheads around Los Angeles such as Griffith Park, the Hollywood Hills and Eaton Canyon. And trailheads in the Santa Monica Mountains, especially in California State Parks: Topanga State Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Leo Carrillo State Park.
ZEVs are common all over the San Francisco Bay Area. You’re likely to spot many of them in parks in the South Bay and lots of them in the East Bay—particularly at parks in the Oakland-Berkeley Hills such as Tilden, Wildcat Canyon, and Redwood Regional Parks.
We’re likely to see more ZEVs in parks farther away from cities because the latest generation of cars are capable of going longer distances between charges. Teslas have a range of 265 miles. The Chevrolet Bolt EV, 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year, gets 238 miles of range on a full charge.
In 2014, California State Parks started a modest pilot program to put charge stations in the parks. I’ve spotted a few of them in my trips around the state, and hope the “Adopt a Charger” program expands to many more parks.
Chevrolet provides free charges from two charge stations located near the visitor center in Leo Carrillo State Park. A sign reads: “In State Parks, we must reduce our emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG) through energy conservation, innovative design and other creative approaches. Electric Vehicles decrease greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent compared with gasoline vehicles.”
My prediction is that we’re going to see many more ZEVs in ever more remote parks as the range of these vehicles increases and a widespread system of charge stations is put in place.
Not surprisingly, it is California and Californians leading the way with new ways and green ways to travel to our favorite parklands and trailheads.