Sample Environmental Studies on Recent Activity in Canyonlands National Park

Recent Activity in Canyonlands National Park

Canyonland national park provides an exploration of a wilderness with countless canyons that is carved by the Colorado River dividing it into four districts that offers an adventurous and sightseeing environment. The island in the sky sector offers expansive views of hikes with different lengths, the needles offers a backcountry experience and the horseshoe canyon unit provides a panel of rock art representing the Native American culture. There are no roads between the sectors and it is practically impossible to visit all the sectors in a single trip.

Management is faced with transportation issue and problem as there are no roads to directly link the different districts in the park and as indicated it is practically impossible to visit the park once, the road in between are in despair and poses dangers to most drivers and in most cases requires special four wheel drive vehicles. This park is isolated and rugged environment with huge distances to be covered to find accommodation and medical services. The solution for this is that the management of the park to devote a considerable amount of budget to repair the roads and create new roads and infrastructure that makes it easy to visit and link the different districts (Cole, D., Manning, R., Lime, D., 2005).

The second issue is that management is faced with the problem of managing wildlife especially those that are dangerous and poisonous.  Wild animals always carry deadly venoms and diseases for example rattlesnakes, scorpions and black widow spiders live in the park. The venoms they carry are very dangerous and can cause death to the visitors and hence chasing away tourists posing an issue to the park management. The management is currently responding to this problem by providing safety cars for travelling and providing awareness on taking photographs from the car or from a distance in addition to teaching children not to chase away animals. This is offered through educational programs during orientation with the help of tour guides.

Third, management has to deal with the climate change issue, which is a global problem but still affects Canyonlands National park. For instance, if climate continues to change glacier may melt away, fire seasons may surface to kill the vegetation and landscape in the national park. These are caused by inappropriate human activities that can be explained by the dying bushes called Tamarisk in the park; thick vegetation that used to inhabit the river banks of the Colorado River and used to provide shades to the visitors and a cool ecosystem. They have been cleared through cutting, burning, and use of beetles to feed on them. When vegetation is cleared then management has to face the problem of climate constantly changing with changes in temperature and precipitation pushing away wildlife species. The desert ecosystem at Canyonlands is constantly evolving and the weather has continued to shape the environment, the management is responding to this issue by using the underdeveloped landscape of the Canyonlands Park to do studies on the effects of climate change and how they are affecting the landscape; the studies have been instrumental in predicting the future. The current studies have brought up mechanisms of protecting the landscape by providing awareness to the population on the importance of protecting and using nature with caution.



Cole, D., Manning, R., Lime, D. (2005). Addressing visitor capacity of parks and rivers.   Parks   and Recreation 40(3): 8, 10, 12.