National Parks at a Turning Point

Air pollution has damaged many parks—and it could get much worse


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Executive Summary
Habitat
Health
Heritage
Horizons
Solutions
End Notes

Millions of Americans visit our national parks for clean air and healthy fun. Unfortunately, many could find "code red" air quality conditions and hazy skies.

Air pollution continues to affect nearly everything we value about America's national parks. It degrades habitat for the plants and animals that call the parks home, puts the health of park visitors and staff at risk, causes physical damage to symbols of our heritage, and mars the scenic horizons that reveal the grandeur of our land.

Clean air laws are helping the parks gradually recover from decades of pollution. But that could all change as the country is on the verge of a massive increase in the burning of coal, oil and natural gas to meet our growing energy needs.

Technologies exist to burn fossil fuels more cleanly, and renewable energy sources offer viable pollution-free alternatives, but our leaders must take action. The decisions they make today about what energy sources we develop, and how cleanly we use them, will affect our air and our parks for generations to come.

Through stories from parks around the country, Turning Point describes how air pollution damages our national treasures and what we need to do now to restore and protect them for future generations.

Will we continue to protect against air pollution threats to the habitats, health, heritage and horizons of our national parks? Or will we fail to save them for future generations? Read Turning Point to find out!

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