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The Rock Shines Green

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Alcatraz Island. Photo credit: Jimson’s Flickr

The world’s most infamous island, Alcatraz Island, is the latest tourist attraction to try to up the eco-tourism ante.

“The Rock”, as it’s called, has a dark and long history as the country’s most isolated prison, housing famous hardened criminals including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and the Birdman of Alcatraz. The island was also the site of major Indian occupations spanning several years.

For Alcatraz’s 100th birthday, the National Park Service will be greening the island, by making sure power, water, and even the transportation to and from the island are completely sustainable. Alcatraz currently uses water shipped from nearby San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area, but researchers are looking into a desalinization plant for the island, which will be powered by micro wind turbines. They also plan to use old water cisterns to collect rainwater.

Perhaps the most innovative of Alcatraz’s green updates will be the transportation – visitors will travel to and from the island in solar powered boats. The Solar Sailors, as they’re called, will carry 400 to 600 anxious Bay tourists. The first Solar Sailor is expected to launch next year- and though, like all good San Franciscans, I’ve already been out to The Rock, you better believe I’ll be one of the first to escape from Alcatraz on a solar boat!

Photo credit: Jimson’s Flickr 

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