ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The National Parks Conservation Association, a park advocacy group, called global warming an "unnatural disaster" for national parks in North Carolina and across the country. The group called on Congress and the administration to take action before the centennial of the National Park System.
"North Carolina's national parks are wonders of our park system, offering economic benefits, recreational opportunities and irreplaceable memories for local residents," NPCA Blue Ridge Senior Program Manager Greg Kidd said. "We all have a responsibility to do all we can to protect them."
The NPCA's new report, "Unnatural Disaster: Global Warming and Our National Parks," claims that global warming might contribute to the Blue Ridge Parkway seeing more Code Red ozone alerts. Also, portions of the Appalachian Trail could be washed out, and Cape Hatteras' famous lighthouse may need to be moved again or risk being washed away, the report said.
The report claims that sea-level rise, increasing storm strength and flooding threaten low-lying historic areas along North Carolina's Outer Banks, such as the earthen fort at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The report suggests that the rising temperatures may upset the natural ecosystem of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
"Congress and the administration should take action now to preserve our national heritage," NPCA President Tom Kiernan said. "We have less than 10 years until the 100th birthday of our National Park System. Now is the time for action. Taking care of our national parks should be a national priority."