National Park Service

State of the Park Reports

State of the Park Report for Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Wilderness Character

Columnar Cactus Habitat at Organ Pipe Cactus NM
Columnar Cactus Habitat at Organ Pipe Cactus NM

The Wilderness Act of 1964 requires the NPS to maintain Wilderness character, including the qualities of being "…untrammeled by man…undeveloped…natural," and allowing for "…solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation." An article summarizing the current condition of the Organ Pipe Cactus Wilderness is pending publication in the winter of 2012 and will soon be available on the monument's public website.

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The Status and Trend symbols used in the summary table below and throughout this report are summarized in the following key. The background color represents the current condition status, the direction of the arrow summarizes the trend in condition, and the thickness of the outside line represents the degree of confidence in the assessment. In some cases, the arrow is omitted because data are not sufficient for calculating a trend (e.g., data from a one-time inventory or insufficient sample size).

Condition Status Trend in Condition Confidence in
Assessment
Condition of resource warrants significant concern Warrants Significant Concern Condition is improving Condition is Improving High confidence in the assessment High
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern Warrants Moderate Concern Condition is unchanging Condition is Unchanging Medium confidence in the assessment Medium
Resource is in good condition Resource is in Good Condition Condition is deteriorating Condition is Deteriorating Low confidence in the assessment Low

Examples of how the symbols should be interpreted:

Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment.
Wilderness Character Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is deteriorating; medium confidence in the assessment.
Indicators of Condition Condition Status/Trend Rationale
Natural Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Natural resources in wilderness are in a wide array of conditions, due to both natural and human influences.
Undeveloped Significant cause for concern, declining trend, and medium confidence Wilderness is substantially degraded by human impacts, mostly due to border-related activities. Vehicle use is common; infrastructure exists within and adjacent to wilderness and is visible from deep within wilderness; low-level aircraft overflights are common; illegal camps are common.
Untrammeled Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is deteriorating; medium confidence in the assessment. Commonly occurring activities manipulate the wilderness's biophysical environment. These include trespass by invasive livestock and feral animals, backcountry vehicle travel, and sometimes even restoration actions (e.g., removal of abandoned vehicles).
Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Opportunity Significant cause for concern, declining trend, and medium confidence Sense of solitude is illusory or difficult to achieve. The presence of cross-border violators is common; surveillance equipment and associated interdiction efforts occur throughout wilderness. Evidence of human presence pervades wilderness (trash, footprints, vehicle tracks, aircraft, etc.) Closure of portions of the park to public restricts wilderness experience.
Other Features and Values Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Limited opportunities exist to experience various cultural resources that evidence the prehistoric and historic use of wilderness by man.

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Last Updated: June 26, 2014 Contact Webmaster