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Air Quality at Glacier National Park

What’s in the Air?

Map of Glacier NP in Montana
Glacier NP, Montana

Most people who visit national parks expect clean air and clear views. However, Glacier National Park (NP), Montana, boasting glacial vistas and relatively pristine surface waters, is downwind of many pollutant sources, including power plants, agricultural areas, oil and gas development, and other industry. Pollutants emitted from these sources can harm the park’s natural and scenic resources such as surface waters, vegetation, fish, and visibility.

How is air pollution affecting Glacier National Park?

  • Toxic airborne contaminants including mercury and pesticides deposit in park ecosystems, accumulating in fish and presenting a wildlife and human health concern. more »
  • While the deposition of atmospheric nitrogen and sulfur is generally low, levels of nitrogen in wet deposition are increasing and may harm sensitive alpine ecosystems in the park. more »
  • While ozone-sensitive vegetation is found in the park, ground-level ozone concentrations are relatively low and unlikely to affect plants. 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 mercury and other toxic air pollutants, 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, including collaboratively producing a fish consumption guidance brochure (pdf, 330 KB) for park visitors and fishermen. The NPS also reviews plans for development that may increase air pollution in national parks. more »
  • Using shuttle buses to reduce fuel use and emissions from transportation sources on some of the busiest roads in the park, increasing use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles, improving energy conservation measures in park facilities, and educating the public. Learn more about the steps Glacier NP is taking as part of the Climate Friendly Parks program.

Featured Content

Impacts icon

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

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016