Appalachian Highlands Network
The Appalachian Highlands Vital Signs Network (APHN) consists of five NPS units. The network parks are divided between two ecologically distinct physiographic regions: the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky and Tennessee, and the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NP) is a designated Class I air quality area. The rest of the units are Class II air quality areas.
Great Smoky Mountains NP and Blue Ridge Parkway have on-site ambient air quality monitoring; the other parks have nearby monitors. The air pollution issues of significant concern for the APHN are ozone, acid deposition and visibility impairment. Parts of three of the Network parks are in proposed 8-hour ozone non-attainment areas. An ozone injury risk assessment indicates the risk of injury is high in Great Smoky Mountains NP, Blue Ridge Parkway, and some locations along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
The Network map below provides information on air quality monitoring. Ozone, sulfur dioxide, dry deposition, and meteorology are collected by the Clean Air Status and Trends (CASTNet) and Gaseous Pollutant Monitoring (GPMN) networks. Ozone is also monitored with passive samplers and portable continuous analyzers. Wet Deposition is monitored through cooperation with National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN). The Mercury Deposition Network (MDN), part of NADP, collects precipitation samples that are analyzed for mercury. Visibility is monitored as part of the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE). Additional details on these parameters are described in Air Quality Monitoring.
Air quality monitoring in or near the network is indicated on the map by symbols, with the blue line showing the approximate borders of the network. The legend shows the symbols for the type of monitoring present, with NPS park units in green. The Class I area has linkable access to ARIS information.