For more information about National Park Service air resources, please visit https://www.nature.nps.gov/air/.
Air Quality at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
What’s in the Air?
Most visitors who come to these parks expect clean air and clear views. However, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (NPs), California, experience some of the worst air pollution of any national parks in the U.S. The parks are downwind of many air pollution sources, including agriculture, industry, major highways, and urban pollutants from as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area. Air pollutants carried into the park can harm natural and scenic resources such as forests, soils, streams, fish, frogs, and visibility.
How is air pollution affecting Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks?
- Ground-level ozone in the park often reaches levels harmful to plants; ozone levels also exceed human health standards at times. more »
- Nitrogen and sulfur in air pollution are carried by rain and snow into park ecosystems causing changes to high elevation lakes and streams. more »
- Airborne mercury and pesticides deposit on park lands and waters, and accumulate in fish to levels potentially harmful to wildlife and human health. In addition, pesticides impact park amphibian populations. more »
- Fine particles of air pollution cause haze in the park, affecting how well and how far visitors can see vistas and landmarks. Fine particle levels also exceed human health standards at times. more »
What is the National Park Service doing about air pollution at the park?
- Monitoring nitrogen, sulfur, ozone, mercury, pesticides, fine particles and haze to assess status and trends. more »
- Evaluating the impacts of air pollution on park ecosystems. more »
- Working with federal, state, and local agencies, industry, and public interest groups to develop strategies to reduce air pollution and protect and restore park resources. The NPS also reviews plans for development that may increase air pollution in national parks. more »
- Using an environmentally friendly alternative fuel vehicle fleet and the Sequoia Shuttle bus system for park visitors, reducing the number of vehicles on some of the busiest roads in the park. Learn more about the steps Sequoia & Kings Canyon NPs are taking as part of the Climate Friendly Parks program.
- Strong educational program addressing air pollution issues can be found at naturalist programs, wayside exhibits, visitor center exhibits, a brochure entitled “What’s in the Wind” and through an interactive tutorial.
- During the ozone “season” (approximately May–October) a daily air quality forecast is provided to help visitors and employees reduce their exposure to unhealthy levels of ozone.
Pollutants including ozone, nitrogen, pesticides, and fine particles affect resources such as forests, streams, and scenic vistas. Find out how on our Sequoia & Kings Canyon NPs Air Pollution Impacts web page.
Studies and monitoring help the NPS understand the environmental impacts of air pollution. Access air quality data and see what is happening with Studies and Monitoring at Sequoia & Kings Canyon NPs.
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon NPs Home Page
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon NPs Air Quality
- Air Pollution Tutorial: Sequoia & Kings Canyon NPs
- California NPs Regional Air Quality Assessment (pdf, 6.3 MB)
- Air Quality in the Sierra Nevada Network
- Pacific West Regional Air Quality Information
- Air Quality Conditions & Trends in Parks
Last Updated: February 03, 2016