Whether on foot, bicycle, horseback, or in vehicles, most visitors come to Canyonlands National Park (Canyonlands) to experience solitude or to "get away from people." Yet visitation to Canyonlands has risen exponentially over the past five years (Figures 1 and 2). Visitation is expected to continue to rise. As a function of this increase in number of visitors, adverse impacts to Canyonlands' resources have increased and the visitors' ability to find solitude has decreased. Since the mandate of the National Park Service (NPS) is to balance visitor access to the parks with preservation and protection of natural and cultural resources, rising visitation to Canyonlands has necessitated a new Backcountry Management Plan (Plan). In 1992, 396,911 visitors entered Canyonlands. Only 15,629 of these visitors, or 4 percent, spent one or more nights in the backcountry. It is visitors accessing the backcountry that will be most affected by this change in management policy. Since the goal of this Plan is to prevent significant damage to resources, provide for public use, and protect scenic values and a sense of solitude in backcountry areas, the ways visitors use Canyonlands will be affected. This draft Plan is presented as an Environmental Assessment (EA) in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Following NEPA regulations, this EA includes a brief discussion of the need for the Plan, a No Action section describing the present policies, proposed changes presented under Preferred and Other Alternatives, and a section describing the Environmental Consequences of the alternatives described.
National Park Service, "Canyonlands National Park and Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Environmental Assessment for Backcountry Management Plan" (1993). All U.S. Government Documents (Utah Regional Depository). Paper 574.