|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Earth Matters: Yellowstone, Smokies on list of endangered U.S. parks
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Some of America's most famous protected sites face the greatest threats from overcrowding, development and pollution, a conservation group said Tuesday.
Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountain national parks were among those included on a list of top 10 endangered U.S. parks released Tuesday by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA).
The group cited noise and air pollution from snowmobiles as major threats to Yellowstone.
Overcrowding, development, and industrial activity jeopardize other parks on the list, including Florida's Everglades. One site, Arizona's Petrified Forest, made the list because of its loss of as much as 12 tons of fossilized wood per year to souvenir hunters.
Increased tourism a factor
The growing winter tourism season brings 1,000 snowmobiles per day into Yellowstone, where park officials say air pollution levels are on par with those of major cities like Los Angeles or Denver. The National Park Service is considering a ban on snowmobile traffic, which local communities say could cripple many businesses dependent on winter tourism at Yellowstone.
Also on the NPCA list is Alaska's Denali National Park, home to Mount McKinley, highest point in the United States. The group said planned road, resort, and snowmobile-related development will bring irrevocable change to pristine areas of the park.
Scenic views affected
The nation's most-visited park also made the list. The frequent fogs that give Great Smoky Mountains National Park its name have given way to air pollution from nearby power plants and heavy auto traffic, often spoiling the park's scenic vistas.
"The list is a metaphor for troubled national parks all across the nation," said National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA) President Thomas Kiernan. "Some of our national parks are becoming a national disgrace."
This is the second annual NPCA list of endangered parks. The group did not attempt to prioritize which of the top 10 they consider to be most endangered, according to NPCA spokesman Roger DiSilvestro.
The NPCA was founded in 1919 and today has more than 400,000 members.
The top 10 endangered parks, and NPCA's assessment of their threats:
FAA caps air tours to cut noise pollution at Grand Canyon
National Parks and Conservation Association
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.