New Report Highlights Challenges Facing Grand Canyon National Park

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Shannon Andrea, National Parks Conservation Association, 202.454.3371

New Report Highlights Challenges Facing Grand Canyon National Park

WASHINGTON - This week, as the National Park Service commemorates its 94th
anniversary, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today
released a comprehensive report that highlights the opportunities and
challenges facing Grand Canyon National Park, as well as policy
recommendations for preserving and protecting this national treasure in
the future. 

The Grand Canyon is a place visited by nearly 5 million visitors a
year - a place that is not only a national icon but is famous around the
world. More than 1.2 million acres, Grand Canyon National Park is a
magnificent and threatened landscape - one that reflects the challenges
facing many of the 392 national park sites across the country. 

"National parks connect Americans to our national heritage and
protect the natural landscapes that help to define us," said NPCA's
Southwest Regional Director David Nimkin. "Our new report highlights the
challenges facing the Grand Canyon, many of which also affect other
national park sites nationwide."

NPCA's new Center for State of the Parks report finds that external
threats and funding shortfalls at the Grand Canyon are creating
significant problems that if not addressed will complicate and
compromise resource protection and management. Key report findings and
recommendations include:

  • Colorado River basin water flow and management must incorporate
    adaptive strategies for protecting and restoring native animals, natural
    habitats, cultural resources and backcountry recreation opportunities
    along the river corridor.
  • Mining activities on lands adjacent to the park, including uranium
    extraction, could result in environmental and watershed contamination.
    Potentially harmful materials from past mining activities are still
    present in parts of the park.
  • Sound pollution from scenic and commercial air plane overflights in the park is a major concern.
  • Air pollution from sources as far as more than 100 miles away has
    the potential to obscure scenic vistas, harm human health, and damage
    park resources.
  • An additional $6.2 million in base funding is needed annually to
    support basic park operations, and the park suffers from a more than
    $300 million maintenance backlog.

"National parks face many challenges - the impacts of climate change,
multiple sources of air pollution, competition for water, loss of
habitat, and insufficient funding to support basic park operations,"
said Ron Tipton, NPCA's Senior Vice President for Policy. "We must
ensure our American treasures are preserved and protected, unimpaired,
for future generations to enjoy."

"Grand Canyon National Park is a global icon and the many challenges
found at the park are reflected in all our national parks," said Roger
Clark of the Grand Canyon Trust.

With the upcoming centennial of the National Park System in 2016, the
new assessment reflects the important role national parks play in
preserving lands, protecting wildlife, and providing recreational and
educational opportunities for Americans. NPCA believes the Obama
Administration's America's Great Outdoors Initiative can provide the
opportunity for collaborative work by federal, regional, state, and
local agencies, as well as private landowners and citizens, to ensure
our national parks and outdoor legacy are preserved. To learn more,
visit: www.npca.org/americasgreatoutdoors.

"Our national parks provide all Americans with a place to reconnect
with families, our shared heritage, and the traditional American values
that make this nation great," said Nimkin. "An investment in our
national parks is an investment in the nation's people and our future."

 

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NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.

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