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    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Air Quality: Fall, 2009

Issue 5 > Resource Roundup > Air quality
 
Rain gauge at Cove Mountain.

Rain gauge at Cove Mountain.

NPS photo.

States & parks working together

In January, President Obama signed a memorandum requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow states to set more stringent auto emission and fuel efficiency standards. This memorandum will allow states to require automakers to produce trucks and cars that get better mileage than what is required under the current national standard set by EPA.

Almost a year later, national parks that cross over two states are collaborating with local governments to ensure new laws match protections set up in Class 1 airsheds, which include large parks. The new proposed National Emission Standard Act could possibly help park units reduce air pollution in their boundaries and meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) of the Clean Air Act.

Changing ozone standards?

In late September, the EPA announced that it was reconsidering the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) published last year. EPA plans will propose a revised standard in December 2009 and publish a final rule by August 2010. The National Park Service sent a letter to EPA in spring 2009 encouraging them to reconsider the NAAQS and adopt a new, more stringent standard based on the record.

The park monitors ozone from May to November, when high temperatures and sunny days exacerbate the problem.

Return to Resource Roundup: Fall, 2009.

Did You Know?

Flame azalea can be found growing on heath balds in the park.

The park’s high elevation heath balds are treeless expanses where dense thickets of shrubs such as mountain laurel, rhododendron, and sand myrtle grow. Known as “laurel slicks” and “hells” by early settlers, heath balds were most likely created by forest fires long ago. More...