For more information about National Park Service air resources, please visit https://www.nature.nps.gov/air/.
Air Quality at Crater Lake National Park
What’s in the Air?
Most people who visit national parks expect clean air and clear views. Fortunately, these conditions are often prevalent at Crater Lake National Park (NP), Oregon, a park well known for its violent volcanic history and the resultant blue caldera lake that is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Cascades.” However, the park is located downwind of population areas, agriculture, and other air pollution sources. Pollutants emitted from these sources have the potential to harm the park’s natural and scenic resources such as vegetation, surface waters, and visibility.
How is air pollution affecting Crater Lake National Park?
- Levels of nitrogen and sulfur deposition are relatively low but Crater Lake is sensitive to nitrogen enrichment given low lake productivity. Headwater streams in the park are potentially sensitive to acidification given thin soils and sparse vegetation on the surrounding slopes. more »
- Toxic airborne contaminants including pesticides have been detected in park air and vegetation samples, presenting a potential wildlife and human health concern. more »
- Ground-level ozone concentrations are estimated to be relatively low, but plant species known to be very sensitive to ozone are found in the park. more »
- Fine particles of air pollution sometimes cause haze in the park, affecting how well and how far visitors can see vistas and landmarks. more »
What is the National Park Service doing about air pollution at the park?
- Monitoring fine particles and haze to assess status and trends in visibility. 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 »
- Utilizing more fuel efficient vehicles, upgrading lighting options to include the installation of efficient fixtures, improving energy conservation measures in park facilities, and increasing awareness among park staff, visitors, and the local community. Learn more about the steps Crater Lake NP is taking as part of the Climate Friendly Parks program.
Pollutants including nitrogen, pesticides, and fine particles affect resources such as surface waters, soils, and scenic vistas. Find out how on our Crater Lake NP 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 Crater Lake NP.
Last Updated: December 30, 2016