Electric Vehicle Infrastructure as a Driver of the Sustainability Agenda in the US National Park System


Drive tourism; electric vehicle; national park; sustainability


Transportation systems within parks impact the ecological environment. Parks typically endure infrastructure and preservation related problems, including unmaintained roads, pollution, road congestion, closed trails, and noise pollution impacting wildlife. Sustainability has been a key priority for the federal government as various initiatives such as Clean Cities and Green Parks Plan have been launched to lower emissions and reduce petroleum usage nationwide. This study investigates the specific opportunity for national parks to utilize electric vehicles (EVs) to lower their emissions and environmental impacts and thereby achieve greener goals. It is critical to understand the challenges that national parks face in adopting EV infrastructure. Likewise, opportunities need to be explored for accelerating EV adoption. Scientific research on the views of different stakeholders of national parks is critical for the adoption of EV infrastructure for sustainable drive tourism within national parks. Therefore, this study investigated how national parks are employing EVs within their systems to uncover opportunities and associated challenges related to implementing EVs for drive tourism in U.S. national parks. This study focused on the supply-side orientation to identify facilitators and inhibitors in technical, legal, physical, social, economic, cultural, and environmental dimensions of sustainability. The study sought to identify how national parks are utilizing alternative transportations systems (ATS) or other sustainable practices, such as EVs, to identify the challenges national parks face regarding implementing EV infrastructure, and to identify opportunities to advance EV infrastructure in national parks. The study revealed opportunities for EVs to be effectively utilized within most park fleets. Adoption will be the consequence of both leadership and park acceptance in addition to the culture towards new technologies. Future monetary savings from fuel and maintenance may provide the basis for exploring and adopting electric vehicles. Challenges included geographic location and terrain along with the lack of sufficient funding to support the necessary infrastructure. Parking was also a concern. Park management is hesitant to install charging stations that may not see usage, leading to customer concerns by visitors traveling with EVs not having a place to charge and visitors with traditional vehicles consequently having one less space to park.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Templeton, A. J., Fyall, A., Fjelstul, J., & Tasci, A. D. A. (2023). Electric Vehicle Infrastructure as a Driver of the Sustainability Agenda in the US National Park System. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 41(2), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.18666/JPRA-2023-11650

Document Type




Source Title

Journal of Park and Recreation Administration






Rosen College of Hospitality Management


Rosen College of Hospitality Management

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