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CA's National Parks Not Immune To Effects Of Global Warming And Pollution

March 7, 2008

Sacramento, CA - There are no boundaries when it comes to the effects of global warming and air pollution, and many of California's national parks are suffering as a result. A new federal study has uncovered a "dirty little secret": a surprisingly high concentration of toxic pollution in the air, lakes and plants of Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite and Mount Lassen National Parks.

The federal study is the first to measure the effects of airborne contaminants on the parks' ecosystems. National Parks Conservation Association Central Valley program manager Laine Hendricks says the pollution is likely connected to climate change and to chemicals used outside park boundaries.

"It's really sobering to find the amount of toxins, amount of pollutants that were found in our parks. And it just goes to show that our national parks aren't necessarily these little isolated areas of protection."

While there's no way to pinpoint where the dirty air is coming from, parks close to agriculture were found to have high levels of insecticides, and parks near coal-fired power plants had the highest levels of mercury.

Hendricks says this proves our national parks need to be protected beyond their borders and that this is a world-wide issue.

"The United States has to lead by example at this point by ensuring that chemical and pesticide use is safe not only for our own backyard, but for wildlife and for different lands, especially those in the national parks."

The full report is available at
www.nature.nps.gov.

Lori Abbott/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - CA