Many environmental factors, both natural and human-caused, have produced dramatic changes over time both in the biotic and abiotic communities of the monument. Natural factors such as geologic and hydrologic activity, weather and climate, historic fire regimes, and pest infestations, have profoundly shaped the geology, flora, and fauna seen today in the monument. More recent human-caused factors, such as a change in the fire regime, changes in air and water quality, disturbed lands, and inadvertent or deliberate introduction of non-native species, have increased the rate of environmental change.
As more people visit the monument and as more humans begin to occupy these remote places, aesthetic values become increasingly more important and more difficult to maintain. The need and desire for quietude, scenic vistas, and dark night skies challenges us to properly manage noise, air quality, visible impacts and lightscapes, as well as other natural and cultural resources in the monument.