NPS Photo - Cookie Ballou
From a Permian reef, to Ice Age forests, to today’s desert lowlands and high country woodlands, the Guadalupe Mountains have experienced dramatic changes. As a wilderness, change is recognized as a valuable and necessary process, but certain changes brought by humans present challenges to park management. Air quality has been monitored within the park since 1982. An analysis of the data gathered from 1990 –1999 indicates that visibility is degrading on the haziest days and slightly improving on the clearest days. There is still concern as urban populations continue to grow and the pollutants from as far away as Los Angeles are transported to the region. Nighttime visibility is also a concern. Currently, visitors to the park enjoy pristine nighttime skies. The National Park Service has retrofitted its facilities with light shields, high efficiency fixtures, and low-sodium lights to minimize light pollution and provide a leading example for nearby communities.
Did You Know?
Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), was a significant medicinal source for physicians in the late 19th century who used it extensively as an expectorant and to treat smallpox. It bright-orange blossoms produce an irresistible nectar for butterflies, and thus its common name.