GNP should take dust seriously

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Years ago, concerned about the dust from the North Fork Road that I saw crossing the North Fork river and onto the glaciers ­— I asked GNP officials how many air quality monitoring stations they had.

They “thought” they had one that was working.

Was the dust from the road a problem I asked? Scientists at the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies in Colorado have proven that dust (including that from unpaved roads) landing on snow significantly increases the rate of melting.

GNP officials have dismissed that without ever contacting them.

They say that dust from unpaved roads is too heavy to travel very far — one park official famously claimed that dust only goes up 10 feet and then settles back down.

But they have no data to prove that.


Thirty percent of the black carbon in the global atmosphere comes from China and India where wood and dung are burned to heat homes.

Add the carbon from forest fires (NBC reported finding dust particles in Greenland that came from U.S. fires) and that percentage increases dramatically.

Add in dust from unpaved roads and the glaciers here have a problem.

DDT dust from China was discovered on one glacier in GNP — recently — but park officials would like us to believe that it is a dust-free zone.

As for learning whether the dust being generated by the ever increasing traffic on the North Fork Road, I believe that they don’t want to know as it doesn’t fit their political agenda of making this a wilderness, whatever the cost is to the glaciers.

Now the park has obtained an air quality monitoring station for the North Fork. Given their record as dust deniers, I really question whether they will program it honestly.

Water sampling on the North Fork ended in 2011 because of a lack of funding — but they’re funding sparky the bark dog.

The last major study of water quality did not measure whether sediment loading and dust from an unpaved road was negatively impacting water quality.

I do not trust the very people who mislead us about measuring air and water quality to design new models to do so.

That’s why independent oversight of both of these government models is needed.

Joe Novak


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