Impact on CNM Ecology

Ecological implications of

national park status


The Colorado National Monument is relatively small in comparison to other destinations and recreation areas, and can be traversed by car in less than an hour. A significant increase in foot and motorized traffic will negatively impact its unique environment, very narrow roadways, plant life and wildlife.

  • Roads  are narrow and subject to erosion and damage due to seasonal temperature fluctuations and rockslides.
  • Increased traffic will degrade wildlife habitat and plant life next to roadways.
  • Wildlife, such as desert big horn sheep, deer, rabbits, etc. which cross Rim Rock Drive, South Broadway, South Camp, Broadway and Monument Drive will be endangered by increased traffic and large, out-of-town, tour busses.
  • Many stretches of road in the CNM do not have guard rails, and increased traffic greatly heightens the potential for accidents.
  • Increased foot traffic leads to erosion, the destruction of naturally-occurring cryptobiotic soil, wildlife habitat destruction, littering, vandalism, theft of minerals and plant life, personal and property crimes, and necessitates increased maintenance, sanitation, and law enforcement.


Vandalism has increased at Arches and other national parks and NPS-managed areas, leading to closures in some cases. Read the following:

  • Salt Lake Tribune: April 11, 2014 “Heavily vandalized area of Arches National Park closed”
  •  The Wilderness Society: February 19, 2014 “190-million-year-old dinosaur track stolen; lands vandalism near Moab on the rise”

Increased exposure via marketing and social media may lead to more vandalism. Read here:

  • NYT June 4, 2013: “As Vandals Deface U.S. Parks, Some Point to Online Show-Offs”