Construction and rehabilitation of buildings, roads, and other structures in the park are always carefully planned to minimize damage to park resources. New projects generally are limited to the existing disturbed "footprint". Before a project gets underway, the area is assessed for archeological sites, other cultural resources, and for sensitive habitats that might support rare plants or animals.
After any construction, the surrounding area is revegetated using plant material previously gathered from the area. The park has its own greenhouse so that local seed can be grown into plants to restore disturbed areas. In alpine areas, tundra sod is removed, stored and then replaced after a project is completed.
Some disturbances are of long standing, and are difficult, if not impossible, to erase. For instance, the Moraine Park area once encompassed a small village. Hay field cultivation, and even a past golf course, are evident to the discerning eye.
Water projects that pre-date the park, such as the Grand Ditch, have resulted in significant land disturbance. In addition to changes along the Ditch, water flows to the Colorado River, and adjoining wetlands have been disrupted altering the seasonal fluctuations in water level, including the scouring of the river bed by spring floods. This in turn has led to changes in riparian communities.
Did You Know?
The oldest rocks in the park are metamorphic (biotite schist and gneiss) estimated at 1.7 billion years old, making them some of the oldest rocks within the National Park System.