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Air Quality at Isle Royale National Park

What’s in the Air?

Map of Isle Royale National Park in Michigan
Isle Royale NP, Michigan

Most people who visit national parks expect clean air and clear views. Isle Royale National Park (NP), Michigan, is a heavily forested, remote island in Lake Superior that experiences relatively good air quality. However, the park lies downwind of pollution from mainland sources in Canada and the Midwest, including pollutants from industries along the Ohio River Valley. These pollutants can harm natural and scenic resources in the park such as wildlife, vegetation, surface waters, and visibility.

How is air pollution affecting Isle Royale National Park?

  • Toxic airborne contaminants, including mercury, deposit in park ecosystems, creating a wildlife and human health concern. more »
  • Levels of nitrogen and sulfur deposition are relatively low but boreal lakes in the park may be very sensitive to deposition. more »
  • While ground-level ozone concentrations are relatively low, ozone-sensitive vegetation is found in the park. more »
  • Fine particles of air pollution sometimes 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 fine particles and haze to assess status and trends in visibility. more »
  • Evaluating the impacts of air pollution on park ecosystems. more »
  • Developing strategies with federal, state, and local agencies, industry, and public interest groups 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 environmentally-friendly motor boats with 4-stroke outboard engines on over 90% of the fleet, and adapting park facilities and infrastructure with renewable energy like solar panels to reduce fossil fuel use. more »

Featured Content

Impacts icon

Pollutants including mercury and other toxics, nitrogen, sulfur, ozone, and fine particles affect resources such as wildlife, lakes, soils, and scenic vistas. Find out how on our Isle Royale 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 Isle Royale NP.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016