By the Numbers

1.2 million

Acres proposed for new oil and gas development across California

2,739

Days that air quality in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks was rated “unhealthy” between 1993-2014. Los Angeles had 2,443 bad air days during the same period

8%

Percentage of the average drop in visitation to national parks during poor air quality days

California’s Central Valley borders some of America’s most spectacular parks — and is home to some of the worst air pollution. Parks and communities now face even greater risks with proposals for yet more oil and gas development.

Background

Along with neighboring Kings Canyon and Yosemite, Sequoia National Park helped spur the creation of the National Park System. Visitors travel from around the world to see the towering granite cliffs of Yosemite and the giant sequoias of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The largest tree on earth, the General Sherman, is found in the groves at Sequoia National Park.

Sequoia and its neighbors protect a large-scale ecosystem directly east of California’s heavily populated Central Valley. Unfortunately, this administration has recently proposed to open over 1.2 million acres of the Central Valley to oil and gas development.

Spoiling Park Resources

[SPOILED PARKS] SEKI Interior Map

Development around Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. (click map to enlarge) + Click to download (PDF)

Over the years, Sequoia National Park has seen its fair share of air pollution from one of the largest oil fields in the United States, just down the road in Bakersfield, California. The massive footprint of the oil and gas industry, along with the smog from other sources within the Central Valley, has led to some of the poorest air quality in the entire nation. In fact, the town of Visalia near Sequoia ranked as No. 2 for ozone pollution by the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report. And in 2018, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks were two of four national parks that had unhealthy air for most park visitors to breathe for more than two months of the year.

Communities of the Central Valley, particularly Latino communities, bear the brunt of the unhealthy air quality. The historical disenfranchisement of these communities has resulted in lower median income and lower health outcomes. If the BLM opens more lands near these parks for development, it would further add to the public health crisis and worsen the air quality for the entire region.

Resources Threatened

  • Bdff824c 2bc6 4b68 876a 5f9ad007d620 original
    Public health
  • 0f1ba227 f13f 4fc0 997e 649a70090e23 original
    Air quality
  • 7bc9db0b 3e8d 4c9d b433 f22e5602b534 original
    Wildlife
  • 9ae2c28f bea6 4155 b4b0 8b486447e4c5 original
    Visitor experience
Stamp donate

Make a tax-deductible gift today to provide a brighter future for our national parks and the millions of Americans who enjoy them.

Donate Now