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Air Quality at Voyageurs National Park

What’s in the Air?

Map of Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota
Voyageurs NP, Minnesota

Most people who visit national parks expect clean air and clear views. Given its remote location on the northern edge of Minnesota’s border with Canada, Voyageurs National Park (NP) experiences relatively good air quality. However, the park lies downwind of pollution from sources in the Midwest and Canada, as well as nearby industrial sources like paper mills. Airborne pollutants can harm the park’s natural and scenic resources such as wildlife, vegetation, surface waters, and visibility.

How is air pollution affecting Voyageurs National Park?

  • Toxic airborne contaminants, including mercury, deposit in park ecosystems, presenting a wildlife and human health concern. more »
  • Levels of nitrogen and sulfur deposition are relatively low but boreal lakes and sugar maple trees in the park are 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 ozone, fine particles, and haze to assess status and trends in air quality. 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 »
  • Using an environmentally-friendly vehicle fleet and adapting park facilities and infrastructure to conserve energy. 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 Voyageurs 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 Voyageurs NP.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016