Our Changing World

Many park visitors are unaware of Shenandoah’s air pollution challenges—until a hiking alert is issued on a “bad air” day. Emissions from coal-fired power plants and industries blow into the park and settle on the land and water. The pollution is affecting air quality, visibility, native fish and vegetation. It also can jeopardize the health of some park visitors.

Shenandoah National Park scientists study the park’s air quality from a monitoring station at Big Meadows. The station is visible from a series of trails and roads, yet it remains a mystery to most visitors. In order to “swing open the gate” at the monitoring station, we’ve funded an interactive education module–“Our Changing World”–at Byrd Visitor Center, which offers an insight into what park scientists are monitoring for and what it means for our park today and into the future.  We’re also putting new signage outside the monitoring station to help passers-by identify the instruments they see and to encourage them to visit the Our Changing World exhibit at the visitor center.