• Spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone in Chesler Park (Needles District)

    Canyonlands

    National Park Utah

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  • Some unpaved roads are closed

    Recent rains have caused extensive damage to some roads in the Needles District and some of the roads into the Maze District. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

    Hard-sided bear containers are required for backpackers in parts of the Needles District. More »

Air Quality

photo: A ranger explains the air quality station at the Island in the Sky
A ranger explains the air quality station at the Island in the Sky
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 

The national parks, monuments, forests and recreation areas of the Colorado Plateau have long been popular destinations for travelers. Together with their stunning landscapes, these reserves share another common resource: some of the cleanest air remaining in the contiguous 48 United States. It is clean air that allows sweeping panoramas of color and texture stretching over thousands of square miles. Of course, clean air is also critical for the health of resident plants and animals.

Many visitors to Canyonlands don't see the clear vistas they expect. A haze often hangs in the air, and most of this haze is not natural: it is air pollution, carried on the wind from distant coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities.

Canyonlands is considered a Class I area under the Clean Air Act, which requires that the park receives the highest level of air- quality protection. Consequently, Canyonlands participates in the National Park Service's comprehensive air resources management program, designed to assess air pollution impacts and protect air quality related resources.

A monitoring station at the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands records ozone and gaseous air pollutants in the atmosphere of the Colorado Plateau.

Did You Know?

Juniper Berries

The Utah juniper, one of the most common trees in the southwest, has the ability to self-prune. During droughts, these trees will cut off fluids from one or more branches so that the rest of the tree can survive. More...