Environmental Factors

Menacing storm clouds turn the sky dark over a lone, small human figure on a wide beach
Weather is certainly an environmental factor that can affect a park

NPS Photo

All national parks, including Fort Matanzas, exist within the surrounding environment. Far from being islands of preserved lands separate from external influence, parks are integrally linked to the overall environment. When the environment as a whole has been perturbed in some way, the affects can often be observed, and are sometimes most apparent, within a park setting. This is because parks are largely free from the modern development that permeates our world. A change in, say, pollution levels in the air or water, the amount of man-made noise, the presence of non-native pests in a forest, or even the number of stars visible in the night sky, is more noticeable in a park than in a more altered setting. It is this characteristic of parks, their relative naturalness compared to almost any other place, which makes them bellwethers for the state of the environment as a whole. They are natural laboratories in which the effects of man's impact on the environment can best be measured.


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Pine tree with roots exposed
Disturbed Lands

Human civilization, and natural areas such as national parks, are already feeling the effects of a changing climate.

Coquina Rocks on beach
Geologic Activity

The northeast coast of Florida, though, is notable for a geologic feature rarely found anywhere else. It is a rock called coquina.

2020 Comet Neowise and trees
Lightscape & Night Sky

A dark sky in all its astronomical glory is indeed a natural resource that warrants protection throughout the national park system

Park Ranger removing plants with a tool
Nonnative Species

In a natural environment, plants or animals that are exotic or nonnative to the area can be harmful to the native species that live there.

Waves crashing on beach
Soundscape & Noise

National parks are charged with preserving natural and historical resources, including the sounds that are associated with those resources.

Rainbow over river. Fort and Ferry boat
Scenic Vistas

The goals of a national park can include both surrounding the visitor with natural beauty, and transporting the visitor back in time.

Sunset, Dock, flag pole, two boats, over water
Water Quality

Water dominates the landscape, is essential to the creatures that inhabit the park, and is integral to the human history interpreted here.

Velvet Ant on Coquina wall

Common insect pests include: mosquitoes, wasps, cockroaches, and ants, all of which are certainly present at Fort Matanzas.

Last updated: August 12, 2020

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8635 A1A South
Saint Augustine, FL 32080


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