Southern California environment news and trends

America’s national parks plagued by pollution, budget cuts

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

A family looks at the base of a Giant Sequoia tree that lies toppled in the Sequoia National Park.

CBS News is reporting that California’s own Sequoia National Park holds the dubious distinction as the most air polluted national park in the country. The park, which is located in the Sierra Nevada forest and home to the famous giant redwoods, had the highest smog levels and most recorded violations over last year.

The heightened ozone levels at Sequoia are not just dangerous to humans, but the forest as well. According to the Associated Press, redwood seedlings and both Jeffrey and ponderosa pines are significantly stressed by the pollution.

Four California state parks were among the nation’s top seven most air polluted, including Joshua Tree, Yosemite and Mojave National Preserve. This information comes from the U.S. Park Service and the EPA at a time when national parks are suffering through significant budget cuts that park-goers are likely to feel this year.