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Scenic views and native vegetation and animal images from parks within Northern Colorado Plateau Network.

Air Quality at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

What’s in the Air?

Map of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado
Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Colorado

Most visitors expect clean air and good visibility in parks. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (NP), Colorado, the “greatest combination of depth, narrowness, sheerness of any canyon in North America,” enjoys relatively good air quality given its remote location on the Colorado Plateau, but upwind urban and industrial sources can degrade air quality. These airborne pollutants can harm the park’s natural and scenic resources such as soils, surface waters, vegetation, and visibility.

How is air pollution affecting Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park?

  • Fine particles of air pollution sometimes cause haze in the park, affecting how well and how far visitors can see vistas and landmarks. more »
  • Nitrogen deposition exceeds levels known to affect plant diversity in shrubland and grassland communities in arid ecosystems, favoring invasive, weedy plants that can displace native vegetation. more »
  • Estimated ground-level ozone concentrations are high enough to induce plant injury under certain environmental conditions, and ozone-sensitive vegetation is found in the park. more »

What is the National Park Service doing about air pollution at the park?

  • Working with federal, state, and local agencies, industry, and public interest groups, such as the Four Corners Air Quality Task Force and the Western Regional Air Partnership, 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 vehicle fleet, adapting park facilities and infrastructure to conserve energy. more »

Featured Content

Impacts icon

Pollutants including nitrogen, sulfur, ozone, and fine particles affect resources such as surface waters and scenic vistas. Find out how on our Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP Air Pollution Impacts web page.

Studies and Monitoring icon

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 Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP.

Related Links

Last Updated: December 30, 2016