It seems somewhat counterintuitive that a national park has an official tire company–after all, aren’t parks supposed to be about enjoying nature on foot? But the reality is that some park are just too big to traverse on foot or on a bike. Hundreds of employees drive through the 3,500 square miles of Yellowstone National Park on a regular basis just to keep the place running.
So it makes a little more sense, then, to learn that Michelin has signed on as the official tire of Yellowstone. Why Michelin? The company claims that its tires provide lower impacts thanks to reductions in rolling resistance, which in turn lead to less fuel being consumed. According to Michelin, its low-impact tires can reduce the CO2 emissions of Yellowstone’s fleet by 8-10 percent.
Michelin’s sponsorship is part of Yellowstone’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative, created in 2008 to help the park reduce its carbon footprint, increase efficiency, and preserve its natural resources.
In addition to providing the park’s entire vehicle fleet with tires, Michelin will teach Yellowstone employees how to improve fuel efficiency and maximize tire life. It’s a little disturbing that Michelin’s VP of Corporate Affairs is joining the Yellowstone Park Foundation Board of Directors as part of the deal, but otherwise Michelin’s sponsorship is a good idea for all involved. A massive national park gets energy-efficient tires and a tire company gets the benefit of being associated with a popular outdoor destination. Sounds like a blueprint other cash-starved parks could learn from.