Third National Park Tainted by Alaska Oil Spill
Oil spilled by the tanker Exxon Valdez has spread to the shores of a third national park, killing more animals and requiring an expanded cleanup, the National Park Service reported Friday.
Blotches of oil have hit the Aniakchak National Preserve in the past week, more than 500 miles southwest of where the tanker ran aground March 24, park service spokesman John Quinley said.
The tanker ran aground in Prince William Sound, but the uncontained oil spread to the Gulf of Alaska, where it coated the shores of the Kenai Fjords National Park on the Kenai Peninsula and Katmai National Park on the Alaska Peninsula.
Aniakchak is one of the most remote and least visited locations in America’s national park system. It is below Katmai on the Alaska Peninsula, 400 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Shoreline surveys showed that Aniakchak suffered oil contamination along much of its 68-mile coast, Quinley said.
Park biologist Will Troyer said he found globs of oil, up to 5 inches in diameter, every few feet along one stretch of beach.
Cleanup crews have found some dead birds, Quinley said. He said the oil also threatened salmon streams, bears and eagles.