• 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 »

Environmental Factors

The roots of a blackbrush exposed by soil erosion
The roots of a blackbrush exposed by soil erosion
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 

Although Canyonlands may appear harsh and unchanging, the desert ecosystem is continually evolving. Weather, climatic shifts and geologic processes continue to shape this environment as they have for millennia.

More recently, human-caused factors such as air, noise and water pollution, as well as introduced species, have had a much greater impact on natural resources world-wide.

The undeveloped landscape of Canyonlands provides an ideal place to study how various environmental factors affect desert ecosystems, and predict what changes might be expected in the future.

Did You Know?

Rapids in Cataract Canyon

The highest recently recorded flow in Cataract Canyon is 114,900 cfs in 1984. However, scientists dating driftwood piles estimate that in 1884, the river may have reached 225,000 cfs. More...