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Air Quality at Badlands National Park

What’s in the Air?

Map of Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Badlands NP, South Dakota

Most visitors expect clean air and good visibility in parks. Badlands National Park (NP), South Dakota, a rugged landscape of spires, canyons, fossils, prairie, and roaming bison, enjoys relatively good air quality due in part to the rural setting of the surrounding Northern Great Plains. However, there are some nearby and regional sources of air pollution, including oil and gas production, power plants, agriculture, and vehicles. 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 Badlands National Park?

  • Fine particles of air pollution sometimes cause haze in the park, affecting how well and how far visitors can see vistas and landmarks.  more »
  • Ground-level ozone concentrations are relatively low, but a number of ozone-sensitive plant species are found in the park. more »
  • Nitrogen and sulfur from nearby energy development and agriculture and more distant power plants and other sources are carried into park ecosystems and may affect sensitive resources.  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 air quality. 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 »
  • Creating public awareness, using alternative energy sources such as solar panels and a wind generator and an environmentally-friendly vehicle fleet for park staff, and participating in Climate Friendly Parks to reduce air pollutant emissions in the park.

Featured Content

Impacts icon

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

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Last Updated: January 26, 2015