Sustainability at Grandfather

As stewards of the Grandfather Mountain nature park and preserve, the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation staff and board of directors work tirelessly to protect this special place. We also make it our mission to inspire conservation of the natural world through education, exploration and example.

Protecting Grandfather Mountain is our goal, and we are continually looking for new ways to elevate our sustainability efforts. Here are a few highlights of our current initiatives:

Mountain-wide Efforts

  • We have recycling options available for guests and staff, including 12 bear-saver outdoor recycling bins.
  • Our staff uses reusable rags and mops for cleaning.
  • Grandfather Mountain has LED lighting in 80% of our buildings, with the goal of 100% as bulbs need replacing.
  • We have hand dryers in bathrooms and low-flow plumbing.
  • The park offers four ChargePoint electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for visitors. Two are located at the park’s entrance gate, and the others are near the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery. The stations come courtesy of a grant from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.
  • We have solar panels that help lower the cost of electricity from the grid.
  • There are two destratification fans high up in the Wilson Center’s cathedral ceilings to reduce the layering of air that occurs when heat rises in a building. The fans move the warm air down for a more even floor-to-ceiling temperature. This reduces energy use and cost, eliminates hot and cold spots and increases visitors’ personal comfort while in the building.
  • The organization offers a reusable cup program for employees.

Specific Department Sustainability Highlights

Entrance Gate
We reuse the USB and CD audio tours as guests return them after their visit.

Facilities & Events
Events are waste-free! We will save an estimated 1,200 gallons of waste from going to the landfill by switching to reusable cups, silverware and plates.

Natural Resources

  • The team primarily uses hand tools and battery-powered equipment. This reduces our noise pollution and lowers our carbon footprint.
  • Staff oversee an invasive species removal program to preserve our native species and ecosystem. We also have restricted pesticide use.
  • We practice and stress Leave No Trace principles on our trails to reduce erosion and trash and to conserve areas that are off-trail.

Marketing & Communications
The team adds QR codes on signs for guests to learn more about the mountain instead of having numerous paper brochures.

Administrative Services
An electric vehicle is utilized for mail/bank/errands and mountain-wide driving.

Wildlife Habitats
Staff purchase hay that is certified weed-free to protect the landscape.

Education & Interpretation

  • We utilize TerraCycling for field trips and groups who eat lunch on the mountain to recycle chip bags and candy wrappers, and regular recycling for bottles and cans.
  • Staff regularly talk with guests and groups about ways they can lead more sustainable lives by making small changes through formal and informal information.
  • The mountain uses buses and shuttles to move groups around the mountain instead of having guests drive individual vehicles, which helps reduce the carbon footprint.

The team collects all fallen leaves in the autumn months to compost and then use for mulch on the mountain.

We purchase local items and “Made in the USA” items from wholesalers to reduce our carbon footprint.

Food & Beverage
We use compostable plates and utensils, and we offer a reusable souvenir cup in Mildred’s Grill.

The Green Team

The Green Team at Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is an interdepartmental committee consisting of at least one employee representative from administrative services, natural resource management, education and interpretation, animal habitats, maintenance and facilities, communications, special events, food and beverage, retail and other staff, as available. Our goal is to protect and preserve Grandfather Mountain’s natural resources, inspire environmentally conscious behaviors and reduce our carbon footprint through guest services and programs, infrastructure design and building, park operations and more.

Grandfather Mountain | Home to the Swinging Bridge, Animal Habitats and Nature Museum

GPS: 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646
Mailing: PO Box 129, Linville, NC 28646

Owned & operated by Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.
Go here for Grandfather Mountain State Park information.
Member of Southern Highlands Attractions