Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful is well known for its timely eruptions. But this 2015 Labor Day visitors will be surprised to see that Old Faithful now uses old Michelin tires. But how does that help the environment?
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the Yellowstone supervolcano is super annoying according to some scientists because they keep having to field questions on when the Yellowstone volcano eruption will occur.
Yellowstone National Park hosts over 3 million visitors a year and it is very likely the Labor Day 2015 weekend will be one of the busiest all year. Ahead of a spike in park traffic and yearly increase in visitors, Yellowstone officials are stepping up sustainability efforts surrounding Old Faithful with the installation of a newly paved walkway, constructed from hundreds of recycled Michelin tires.
While a walkway does not sound like much, the recycled tires are intended to preserve groundwater flow and better control erosion in the area. This is an important factor because scientists have figured out the secret to Old Faithful’s eruption timing. The plumbing beneath the ground is filled with kinks and twists. Similar to plumbing, steam pressure can build up along the way and form bubbles, which eventually causes the geyser to erupt in a timely fashion. But if this plumbing were to be altered then Old Faithful might not be so faithful any more.
Recycled Michelin tires were chosen because the tire rubber will not leak oil into the ground like asphalt can over time.
“We take the ecological integrity of Yellowstone very seriously,” said Steve Iobst, deputy superintendent of Yellowstone. “This important project would not have happened without Michelin’s vision and the support of its employees.”
This new type of pavement is called Flexi-Pave and it was created by a company called KBI.
“The material used to create KBI’s Flexi-Pave is completely benign and therefore can be used safely with the delicate aquifers here in Yellowstone,” said Kevin Bagnall, CEO and founder of KBI. “The path allows 3,000 gallons of groundwater to pass per square foot. It also is designed to diffuse the water’s force, helping prevent erosion.”
The Michelin tires actually served a double purpose. The Yellowstone National Park’s fleet of vehicles first used the tires for over 100,000 miles before they were recycled for a long term purpose.
“The Old Faithful Walkway Project is a great example of what a difference a company devoted to sustainability can make in the world’s first national park,” said Karen Bates Kress, president of the Yellowstone Park Foundation. “We are fortunate to have a corporate partner as farsighted, public spirited, and generous as Michelin.”
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]