Clean Air: A Valuable Resource
The purpose of this park is to protect and conserve resources integral to a landscape of unusual scenic beauty exemplified by high colored and fantastically eroded geological features, including rock fins and spires, for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its fantastic views, and these wouldn't be possible without clean air. In 1977 the park was designated a Class I air quality area, receiving the highest protection under the Clean Air Act.
Natural resource management specialists monitor atmospheric deposition and particles. The chemical composition of precipitation has been monitored in the park since 1985 as part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) network. Bryce Canyon’s visibility monitoring program has documented periods of degraded visibility due to fine particle pollution. Over the past 25 years, the visibility in Bryce Canyon is improving on the clearest days, but not improving on the haziest days. Visibility is often described as a "visual range". Technically the visual range is the distance at which a large black object just disappears from view. However, for visitors at Bryce Canyon visibility is more closely associated with conditions that allow the visitor to recognize and appreciate the form, contrast detail, and color of features, both near and far.
Information on air quality at Northern Colorado Plateau Network parks can be found by visiting the National Park Service's Air page, which displays spatial and temporal trends in ozone, nitrogen deposition, sulfur deposition, and visibility-reducing pollutants in all units of the National Park System.
Both local and distant air pollutant sources affect air quality in Bryce Canyon. The natural resources that are potentially sensitive to air pollution are air quality, water quality, vegetation, wildlife, soils, and visibility. Visibility has been identified as the most sensitive resource in the park. Although visibility in the park is still superior to that in many parts of the country, visibility in the park can be impaired by light-scattering pollutants such as suspended dust and emissions from power plants and vehicles. Another impact to the park’s visitors is light pollution. Bryce Canyon is famous worldwide for its night sky. Light generated by sources within 200 miles of the park can degrade the night sky and negatively impact the night sky experience, including ranger-led astronomy programs.
On a clear day at Bryce Canyon, you can see Navajo Mountain which is 80 miles to the south and on an especially clear day you can look over Grand Canyon to spot Humphrey's Peak which is 150 miles away!