Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Capitol Reef National Park

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program provides framework, funding, and publishing support to parks to aid in the synthesis and documentation of natural resource conditions. Condition assessment reports are a tool to describe selected park resources, and record a snapshot of their current condition, identify trends, and identify potential or current threats and stressors. Understanding the condition and trend of natural resources is key for parks and NPS planners to appropriately prioritize and allocate stewardship resources.

runner on a road through a spectacular red rock high relief landscape
Capitol Reef National Park was congressionally legislated as a national monument in 1937, then as a national park in 1971 to preserve the “striking geologic landscapes within the Colorado Plateau, including the Waterpocket Fold, Cathedral Valley, and their associated ecosystems, as well as magnificent scenery, scientific value, wilderness character, and rich human history.”

The park encompasses approximately 381 square miles (98,711 ha) in southcentral Utah, and over 70% is managed for its rugged and remote wilderness value. It’s known for its spectacular display of geologic features, including the Waterpocket Fold—an extensive, upthrusted sandstone geologic feature that is the longest exposed monocline in North America.

Capitol Reef contains high plant diversity and has a large concentration of locally rare and endemic plants, representing about 18% of the park’s total number of plant species. The Fremont River, perennial creeks, and springs, seeps, and tinajas are valued sources of water in the high desert environment of the Colorado Plateau, providing critical habitat for migrating and breeding birds, invertebrates, and other wildlife. At least 58 mammals, including desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni), have been confirmed at the park, and three native fishes are species of special conservation status in Utah.

NRCA Publications

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    For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

    Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

    Last updated: December 16, 2022


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