Parks threatened by sea-level rise revealed

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National park infrastructure and historic and cultural resources totaling more than $40 billion are at high risk of damage from sea-level rise caused by climate change, says a report just released by the Department of the Interior.

NPS scientists examined conditions at 40 parks, roughly one-third of the 118 national parks considered threatened by sea-level rise. NPS director Jonathan Jarvis commented that in addition to cherished lighthouses, forts, archaeological sites and valuable artifacts, at risk also is the infrastructure essential to daily parks operations (think roads and bridges, visitor centers, docks and the like).

With summer in full swing parks now playing host to millions of visitors stand out. The 10 national seashores listed as “at risk” in the report include Assateague (Md./Va.), Cape Cod (Mass.), Fire Island (N.Y.), Cape Hatteras (N.C.), Cape Lookout (N.C.), Canaveral (Fla.), Cumberland Island (Ga.), Gulf Islands (Fla./Miss.), Point Reyes (Calif.), and Padre Island (Tex.).

Results from analysis of an additional 30 coastal parks will be released later this summer.

PHOTO COURTESY NPS.