Yellowstone’s Renovated Canyon Lodge Uses Recycled Bottles and Wood

Using recycled bottles from Yellowstone visitors and wood from trees killed by the pine beetle, Canyon Lodge & Cabins has just undergone an extensive two-year renovation.

Located in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River area of the park, the lodge complex is the largest in the park. But it’s also one of the most eco-conscious. Much of the renovation incorporates features that make it much more environmentally sustainable than the previous buildings.

Sustainability Important in Canyon Lodges Renovation

“Maximizing sustainability is ingrained in our thought processes and is a significant part of our company culture,” said Jim McCaleb, general manager of Yellowstone National Park Lodges, in a press release.

Exterior of Washburn Lodge, part of the Canyon Lodges in Yellowstone. Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park Lodges/Xanterra

Exterior of Washburn Lodge, part of the Canyon Lodges in Yellowstone. Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park Lodges/Xanterra

Lobby of Washburn Lodge, part of the Canyon Lodges in Yellowstone. Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park Lodges/Xanterra

Lobby of Washburn Lodge, part of the Canyon Lodges in Yellowstone. Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park Lodges/Xanterra

Five new lodges were built in the past two years, with the Washburn and Rhyolite lodges completed in September 2016. When you walk in, you’ll find wainscoating and coat racks made from beetle-kill wood, which is wood from pine trees in the region decimated by the pine beetle. You’ll also see countertops made from recycled glass, much of it from the park, and recycled fly ash, which is a byproduct of coal burning. In addition, there’s LED lighting and low-flow toilets.

New Lodges Win LEED Awards

So far, three of the lodges have been certified “Gold” by the U.S. Green building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program. In summer 2017 the dining facilities will be redesigned to offer more local and sustainable offerings, including quick-service meals so travelers can spend less time indoors and more time outdoors exploring.

Two other lodges on the property were built in the last 25 years. In 1993 the Cascade Lodge opened followed by the Dunraven Lodge in 1998.

Mission 66 Program

The original complex was built during the 1950s and 1960s as part of the park service’s Mission 66 program. Mission 66 aimed to update park facilities, including lodging and visitor centers, in time for the National Park Service’s 50-year anniversary in 1966.

The latest renovation that began in 2014 has included removing 350 Frontier and Pioneer cabins and replacing them with five large modern lodge buildings. The 99 Western cabins remain as do two smaller lodge buildings.