Conservation Efforts and Environmental Struggles of Shenandoah National Park


Shenandoah National Park consists of nearly 200,000 acres of protected land in Northern Virginia and boasts over 500 miles of hiking trails, the 105 mile Skyline Drive with beautiful views, and thousands of living creatures, including the endangered Shenandoah Salamander that is only found in the park. However, the park is in danger because of coal and oil burning power plants, traffic and tourist congestion, and other environmental factors. Shenandoah National Park has been deemed the second most polluted park in the nation. Distant mountain views are now covered by a distinct haze that visitors frequently complain about. Acid rain fall kills the trees, pollutes the water systems, and harms the creatures that live in or around them. This document is an introduction to the environmental issues surrounding Shenandoah National Park and the efforts to conserve the park by the park service, national government, and other groups. All of the sources can be accessed through the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection at Appalachian State University, the Western North Carolina Library Network, or the Internet.

Introductory Text: 

A good introduction to the conservation efforts and environmental struggles of Shenandoah National Park can be found in:

Burks, Ned and Chris Fordney. “Battle for the Blue Ridge.” The Washington Post Magazine. October 31, 1993, pg. 15. ASU App. Coll.: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Clippings File.

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Shenandoah National Park (Va.)
  • Shenandoah River (Va. And W. Va.)
  • Shenandoah River Watershed (Va. And W. Va.)
  • Shenandoah Nature Society
  • Shenandoah National Park Association

Also Relevant:

  • National Parks and Reserves--Virginia
  • Virginia. Division of Parks and Recreation

More General:

  • Air--pollution--United States
  • Acid rain--United States
  • Endangered species--United States


  • Air quality management
  • Plants--effect of air pollution on--genetic aspects
  • Forest biodiversity--effect of air pollution on
  • Prescribed burning
  • Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  • Environment – Acid Rain
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • F232.S48
  • GE155

Conners, John A. “Environmental Problems in Shenandoah National Park.” Shenandoah National Park: An Interpretive Guide. Blacksburg, Va.: The McDonald & Woodward Pub. Co., 1988: 99-106. ASU App Coll.: F232.S48 C66 1988.

Reich, Justin. “Re-Creating The Wilderness: Shaping Narratives and Landscapes in Shenandoah National Park.” Environmental History. Web vol.6, no.1 (Jan. 2001): 95-117. (available online at

Rosenthal, Dorothy B. Environmental Case Studies Southeastern Region. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1996: 11-15. ASU App. Coll.: GE155.S68 R67 1996.

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Martin-Perdue, Nancy. “Shenandoah National Park.” Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Eds. Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell. Knoxville, TN, USA: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. 670-671. ASU App Coll.: F106 .E53 2006.

“Shenandoah National Park.” Encyclopedia of American National Parks.V.2. Eds. Hal Rothman and Sara Ewert. Armonk, NY, USA: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2004. 529-532. ASU Reference: E160 .E53 2004.


Appalachian Bibliography. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1980. ASU App Coll.: Z1251 .A7 A6 1980

Burch, John R. Jr. The Bibliography of Appalachia. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company Inc., Publishers, 2009. ASU App. Coll.: Z1251 .A7 B87 2009.

Abstracts and Indices: 

Use JSTOR, GreenFILE, Environment Complete, and Google Scholar to search under the following subject headings:

  • Shenandoah National Park
  • “Shenandoah National Park” and “Conservation”
  • “Shenandoah National Park” and “Air Pollution”
  • “Shenandoah National Park” and “Acid Rain”
  • “Shenandoah National Park” and “Water Quality”
  • “Shenandoah National Park” and “Tourism”
  • “Shenandoah National Park” and “Endangered Species”
  • “Shenandoah National Park” and “Salamander”
  • “Shenandoah National Park” and “Gypsy moth”
  • “Shenandoah National Park” and “Environment”

Shenandoah Overlook, Semiannual visitors guide. Web access:

Journal of Park and Recreation Administration. Urbana, IL: Sagamore Publishing LLC. Quartlerly 1983-present. Web: vol.24, no. 4, winter 2006. (available online at

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Springer Netherlands Publishing. 1981- present. Web: vol. 63, no. 1, 2000. (available online at

  • “National Parks Conservation Association – Shenandoah National Park.” Accessed at
  • “National Park Service – Shenandoah National Park – Nature & Science – Environmental Factors.” Accessed at
  • “Park Science.” Accessed at
  • “Shenandoah National Park current air quality.” Accessed at
  • “Shenandoah Watershed Study and Virginia Trout Stream Sensitivity Study.” Accessed at
Other Sources: 


Deviney, F.A., K.C. Rice and Gordon Olson. “Acid Rain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2007–3057.” Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, 2007, 4 p. (available online at

Dise, Nancy and Dennis Lynch. “Sensitivity of Stream Basins in Shenandoah National Park to Acid Deposition.” Abstracts from the Technical Sessions of the First U.S. Geological Survey Water-Quality Workshop. Columbus, OH: U.S. Department of the Interior, 1991. U.S. Geological Survey, micro-fiche, pp.8. ASU Microform Coll.: I 19.76:91-225.

Gawtry, Stephen and Jerry Stenger. “Climate Summary, Shenandoah National Park: Natural Resources Report NPS/NER/NRR 2007/017.” U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service 2007, 44 p. (available online at

Hyer, Kenneth E. “Escherichia coli Concentrations in Recreational Streams and Backcountry Drinking-Water Supplies in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, 2005-2006: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007–5160.” Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey 2007, 18 p. (available online at

Jones, J.W. and J.D. Osborne. “Detecting Evidence of Climate Change in the Forests of the Eastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2008-3046.” Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, 2008, 2 p. (available online at

Plummer, Neil L., et al. “Chemical and Isotopic Composition of Water from Springs, Wells, and Streams in Parts of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, and Vicinity, 1995-1999.” Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, 2000, 73 p. (available online at

Rice, Karen C., Frank A. Deviney, Jr., George M. Hornberger, and James R. Webb. “Predicting the Vulnerability of Streams to Episodic Acidification and Potential Effects on Aquatic Biota in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5259.” Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey 2006, 59 p. (available online at

Compiled by: 

Sarene Nicole Cullen

November 29, 2012