Major Environmental Issues In Grand Canyon National Park
Although the Grand Canyon has been given the status of a national park and hence, protected, it is facing a lot of environmental issues. The Grand Canyon was made into a national monument through a presidential declaration on 11th January 1908. Thereafter, on 26th February 1919, the US Congress made Grand Canyon into a national park.
The Canyon holds so much interest for people, biologists and zoologist because of its rock formations and its biological diversity. Many rare plants and animal species live in the Grand Canyon in some of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, such as the boreal forest.
Today, the Grand Canyon is facing air pollution, sound pollution and the effects of climate change. It is the second most visited national park in the country, getting over 4.5 million visitors each year. So, there are a lot of footfalls in the park. The visitors bring along problems that can adversely affect the delicate flora and fauna in the park. Also, with so many people visiting the park, there is always the threat of environment pollution, sound pollution as well as air pollution. However, the park employees are trying to ensure that the visitors get the best possible experience at the Grand Canyon without their visit having an adverse effect on the fragile ecosystems in the park or the Canyon as a whole.
Furthermore the Management of the Colorado River has been unsuccessful in protecting indigenous species in the area and their habitats. Many people come to do white water rafting on the Colorado River and also set camps along the shore. This can have a bad impact on the environment and be harmful to the numerous plants and animals that live along the shore.
The park had faced mining along its boundaries and some of the mining activities had spilt over into the park, causing a lot of habitat damage. While the government has placed a ban on new mining in one million acres around the park, it has not helps to reduce the threats that mining can cause.
Further more, commercial flights have the freedom to fly over the park and this is again responsible for sound pollution. The air pollution from the neighboring cities is heading towards the park and will damage and deface the beautiful landscape and also pose a health risk to visitors and employees of the park.
The park also facing the effects of climate change and according to the conservation society that works in the park, many of these effects are already affecting the park's natural resources adversely.
There is a risk of animals grazing in the areas around the park entering and causing damage to the plants growing inside the boundary of the park. Also, there is a risk that with the animals entering the park, non-native animals and plant species may get a foothold and compete with the native species. As the native species will have no defense mechanism in place, they could be wiped out in a blink of an eye.
The Grand Canyon is truly a natural marvel that needs to be protected and efforts have to be made to handle the environmental issues facing the park immediately. This is a unique place on earth with its ravines, rock formations and ecosystems. Laws should be strengthened to ensure that national parks all over the US are protected from environment-related problems and threats. Today, many species of plants and animals are endangered or have become extinct. If this occurs in the Grand Canyon or any other national park, not only will the ecological balance in the park go haywire, it will also cause the death of countless other plant and animal species. Once this happens, visitors will begin to dwindle and the revenue earned from these visits will no longer be available to sustain the parks.
It is all a vicious cycle that needs to be put into the right perspective and then only the environmental issues can be effectively dealt with.
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