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Air Quality at Joshua Tree National Park

What’s in the Air?

Map of Joshua Tree National Park in California
Joshua Tree NP, California

Most visitors who come to national parks expect clean air and clear views. However, Joshua Tree National Park (NP), California, home to the famously twisted, spiky Joshua tree, is affected by air pollution generated in the Los Angeles air basin that moves inland with the predominant westerly winds. Air pollutants carried into the park can harm natural and scenic resources such as soils, surface waters, plants, and visibility.

How is air pollution affecting Joshua Tree National Park?

  • Nitrogen deposition in the park reduces the diversity of plants and increases the risk of fire. more »
  • Ozone concentrations in the park are elevated to levels known to cause injury to sensitive plants. However, with the exception of occasional surface waters, dry desert conditions limit ozone uptake and injury in plants. more »
  • Fine particles of air pollution 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 nitrogen, sulfur, ozone, fine particles, and haze to assess status and trends. 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 »
  • Promoting energy efficiency and energy conservation, retrofitting park facilities to conserve energy, and using solar power for than 50% of electrical power needs. Learn more about the steps Joshua Tree NP is taking as part of the Climate Friendly Parks program.

Featured Content

Impacts icon

Pollutants including nitrogen, ozone, and fine particles affect resources such as plants, soils, and scenic vistas. Find out how on our Joshua Tree 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 Joshua Tree NP.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016