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healthy air means healthy hikes

AMC has been working for nearly 140 years to promote and protect the outdoors. For nearly three decades our work has included protecting hiker health and our recreation experience by focusing on the air we breathe and the impacts of air pollution to the forests and mountain vistas we enjoy. An essential tool for achieving our goals is the Clean Air Act-and it’s been working.

The air and waters in the northern Appalachian mountains are cleaner thanks to Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations such as the Acid Rain Program, Ozone Transport Rule, and the Regional Haze Program. AMC has monitored air quality in White Mountains of New Hampshire for nearly three decades, where we have documented improvements such as:

  • Rain and cloud water is 4 times less acidic now than in the 80’s.

  • Ozone pollution has fallen 16 to 20 ppb from peak levels over the years monitored.

  • On the haziest (polluted) days you can see about 18 miles further now than 10-15 years ago.

National Clean Air Standards

Hikers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poor air quality, as we inhale large amounts of air as we hike. AMC’s goals are to reduce air pollutants like ozone, which impairs lung function and aggravates asthma;fine particulate matter, which causes adverse health impacts such as heart disease;haze that reduces mountain top views;and acid rain-causing pollutants that degrade forest health and water quality.To that end, AMC continues to advocate for strong National Clean Air Standards.

Climate Policies 

The northeast outdoors needs continued Clean Air Act protections, especially in the face of global warming and other climate disruptions affecting our mountains, rivers, and trails, such as increasing intensity of storms, heat waves, and unpredictable winter seasons. Clean Air Act programs, and other federal initiatives, that reduce emissions from tailpipes and smokestacks are essential for both clean air and addressing climate change. AMC has long supported the national goal of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. More specifically we have supported the following initiatives: 

Regional Haze Rule

The Regional Haze Rule (RHR) is an essential program to fulfill the national goal established by Congress in the 1977 amendments to the Clean Air Act: “the prevention of any future and the remedying of any existing impairment of visibility” in mandatory Class I federal areas. “Impairment of visibility” can be caused by haze pollution formed and emitted from fossil fuel burning. “Class I federal areas” are special public lands across the US including Acadia National Park, and the Great Gulf and Presidential-Range Dry River Wilderness areas in the White Mountain National Forest.  


AMC joins NPCA and others in support of strengthening the Regional Haze Rule.