• 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 the Lavender Canyon road, Colorado Overlook road, and the Salt/Horse road. The White Rim Road is impassable from Hardscrabble camp to Upheaval Bottom. Roads will be closed until repairs can be made. More »

  • Extreme Fire Danger

    Due to extremely dry conditions, fire restrictions are in effect in all national park units in Utah. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

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

Nonnative Species

Tamarisk (Tamarix chinensis) turns brilliant orange in the fall
Tamarisk (Tamarix chinensis) turns brilliant orange in the fall
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 

Non-native species are a problem throughout the American west, and Canyonlands is no exception. Several animal and plant infestations have significantly altered the area's ecology, disrupting food chains and nutrient cycles by out-competing native organisms in their own habitat.

Non-native plants impacting Canyonlands include tamarisk (salt cedar), cheat grass, Russian knapweed and Russian olive. There are also 40 species of non-native fish living in the upper basin of the Colorado River, which includes Canyonlands. Two of these, carp and channel catfish, are the most commonly seen fish in the park. Non-native birds, such as starlings and English sparrows, typically inhabit urban areas and are not a problem in the park.

Many scientific studies have been conducted to understand the impact of these species and, in some cases, to eradicate them. Thus far, success has been limited, and the issue of non-native species is likely to receive continued attention in the coming years.

Did You Know?

Upheaval Dome

Upheaval Dome contains rock layers unlike any in the surrounding area. Scientists still debate whether this oddity is the remnant of a meteorite impact or a salt dome. More...