Zion Lodge, in Utah’s Zion National Park, has just received Green Seal certification for its environmental programs that protect the park’s ecosystem. The Green Seal certification is just the latest of many awards and honors the Zion Lodge has received for promoting sustainable eco-tourism and practices and environmental initiatives. The award recognizes efforts that include purchasing policies, water and energy management and employee practices that include solar power and wind power.
Zion Lodge is a classic log lodge — the main building and individual cabins — exactly what you hope to find inside a U.S. national park in the West. It’s comfortable rather than fancy, since most visitors spend most of their time out of their rooms, enjoying the spectacular scenery.
The photo of me here is at the top of one of the world’s most memorable and beautiful trails, Angel’s Landing. It was a glorious day outdoors, hiking through a fragrant pinon forest, past tinkling waterfalls, and a rocky switchback section that was hard enough to make me think about quitting — until I saw a 10-year-old on his way back from the summit with his parents. That inspired me to finish the hike. The smile on my face shows the effort — and the scenery — was more than worth it.
Zion Lodge uses renewable wind power for 100 percent of its electricity, plus photovoltaic solar arrays for hot water. The lodge saves on glass waste by serving beer on tap and eliminating bottles. Non-toxic paints and carpeting, and hypo-allergenic, all-natural bathroom amenities from local companies are used throughout, and the restaurant serves organic and biotic-free food, including fresh veggies from local farms.
Air pollution is kept to a minimum by the use of shuttles — there is no driving inside the park.
The lodge was built in 1925 for the Union Pacific Railroad’s Utah Parks Company. It burned down in 1965 and was rebuilt immediately to its original form, with 81 rooms and 40 cabins. I stayed in the main lodge. When I return, I want to stay in one of the cabins and watch the sunrise from my porch. Then go hiking.
Zion Lodge is operated by Xanterra Patks and Resorts, which operates lodges and restaurants in national parks including Yellowstone, Death Valley and Grand Canyon.