When visiting National Parks, most visitors go to see the beauty of nature and to get out of the city to enjoy the fresh air. Though how soon will this be disrupted? At Shenandoah National Park, elevated levels of ozone have been documented which has damaged park vegetation. “Park staff members are concerned with this situation and therefore work on a variety of programs related to monitoring, research, and emissions reduction. Park staff members have also instituted an Ozone Advisory program aimed at educating employees and park visitors about the risk of exposure to ozone and precautions that can be taken” (NPS: http://www.nps.gov/shen/naturescience/gaseous_pollutants.htm). Pollution also affects the visibility in the park. Smog, which is caused by pollution, creates a layer of haze overtop of the park and disrupts the visual appeal for the tourists.

This short youtube clip shows how the ozone in the air has affected the vegetation in Sequoia National Park.

The Huffington Post posted a very interesting article on the subject of air pollution in the National Parks within the U.S.which you can read here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/national-parks-air-pollution-ranked_n_1553359.html. I never imagined that air pollution could have such an impact on a rural area such as a National Park. When I think of smog, I think of large urban areas in the U.S. such as LA or New York. However, this has not seemed been the case as of late. California’s Sequoia National Park was rated top for air pollution with a quarter of the year, or 87 days, recording dangerous smog levels. Maybe we as a population should start looking at our pollution ‘footprint’ since these prestige areas are now dangerous because of us as a human race.