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

Air Quality at Petrified Forest National Park

What’s in the Air?

Map of Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona
Petrified Forest NP, Arizona

Most visitors who come to national parks expect clean air and clear views. Petrified Forest National Park (NP), Arizona, home to fossilized trees over 200 million years old and a vast badlands landscape of the Painted Desert, enjoys moderately good air quality. However, both local and distant air pollutant sources—including power plants, oil and gas development, and the industrial and urban areas of southern California, southern Arizona, and northern Mexico—can degrade air quality at the park. These air pollutants can harm the park’s natural and scenic resources such as soils, surface waters, vegetation, and visibility.

How is air pollution affecting Petrified Forest National Park?

  • Fine particles of air pollution cause haze in the park, affecting how well and how far visitors can see vistas and landmarks. more »
  • Ozone concentrations in the park are elevated to levels known to cause injury to sensitive plants, but dry conditions may limit ozone uptake and injury in plants. more »
  • Nitrogen deposition exceeds levels known to affect biodiversity in desert plant communities, favoring invasive plants that can displace native vegetation. more »

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

  • Monitoring nitrogen, sulfur, ozone, fine particles, and haze to assess status and trends. more »
  • 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 »
  • Creating public awareness, using alternative energy sources and an environmentally friendly vehicle fleet for park staff, and participating in Climate Friendly Parks to reduce air pollutant emissions in the park. more »

Featured Content

Impacts icon

Pollutants including nitrogen, sulfur, ozone, and fine particles affect resources such as soils, surface waters, and scenic vistas. Find out how on our Petrified Forest 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 Petrified Forest NP.

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Last Updated: January 26, 2015