Fire is a natural process in the ponderosa pine forest. Both plants and animals have long been adapted to its presence. However, studies show that the ponderosa pine forest along the north rim of Walnut Canyon has changed considerably during the last century. Prior to 1890, the forest experienced a low-intensity fire every 4 to 8 years, and was composed of fewer, larger pine trees clustered in isolated stands with an open understory of grasses, wildflowers, and non-woody plants. The forest was open and park-like, with a vigorous mix of old and younger plants.
For more information:
Fire in Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Forests: a Bird's-Eye View.
Assessment of Forest Health in the Southwest, USFS
Did You Know?
In 1915 a spur road to what is now Walnut Canyon National Monument was designated part of the National Old Trails Highway, also known as the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway, which stretched for 3,095 miles across the US. Walnut Canyon became a short detour from this major transcontinental route.