• Lehman Caves

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

Environmental Factors

The National Park Service's mission is to

"to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein [within the national parks] and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." (Organic Act of 1916)

As parks strive to maintain, and in many cases, restore natural processes and ecosystems inside their boundaries, accomplishment of these mandated goals can be comprised by outside activities and actions. Parks do not exist in vacuums, but remain part of, and connected to, the larger landscape that surrounds them. All parks today face threats from invasions of nonnative species, pollution from near and far, and incompatible uses of resources in and around parks.

Great Basin National Park is not immune to these issues. Some of the specific threats facing the park today are groundwater pumping from neighboring valleys that may dry up park springs and springs, proposed coal-fired power plants nearby that may degrade air and water quality, the invasion of cheatgrass to the detriment of many native plant species, and global climate change that could completely alter the plant and animal communities of the Great Basin.

Did You Know?