Arches National Park

Arches National Park is a national park in eastern Utah, United States. The park is adjacent to the Colorado River, 4 mi (6 km) north of Moab, Utah. The park contains more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the well-known Delicate Arch, which constitute the highest density of natural arches in the world. It also contains a variety of other unique geological resources and formations. The national park lies above an underground evaporite layer or salt bed, which is the main cause of the formation of the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths in the area.

The park consists of 310.31 km2 (76,680 acres; 119.81 sq mi; 31,031 ha) of high desert located on the Colorado Plateau. The highest elevation in the park is 5,653 ft (1,723 m) at Elephant Butte, and the lowest elevation is 4,085 ft (1,245 m) at the visitor center. The park receives an average of less than 10 in (250 mm) of rain annually.

Administered by the Nat...Read more

Arches National Park is a national park in eastern Utah, United States. The park is adjacent to the Colorado River, 4 mi (6 km) north of Moab, Utah. The park contains more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the well-known Delicate Arch, which constitute the highest density of natural arches in the world. It also contains a variety of other unique geological resources and formations. The national park lies above an underground evaporite layer or salt bed, which is the main cause of the formation of the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths in the area.

The park consists of 310.31 km2 (76,680 acres; 119.81 sq mi; 31,031 ha) of high desert located on the Colorado Plateau. The highest elevation in the park is 5,653 ft (1,723 m) at Elephant Butte, and the lowest elevation is 4,085 ft (1,245 m) at the visitor center. The park receives an average of less than 10 in (250 mm) of rain annually.

Administered by the National Park Service, the area was originally named a national monument on April 12, 1929, and was redesignated as a national park on November 12, 1971. The park received more than 1.8 million visitors in 2021. From April 1 through October 31, 2023, a timed entry reservation is required to visit the park between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

 Ute petroglyphs on Delicate Arch trail

Humans have occupied the region since the last ice age 10,000 years ago. Fremont people and Ancestral Puebloans lived in the area until about 700 years ago. Spanish missionaries encountered Ute and Paiute tribes in the area when they first came through in 1775, but the first European-Americans to attempt settlement in the area were the Mormon Elk Mountain Mission in 1855, who soon abandoned the area. Ranchers, farmers, and prospectors later settled Moab in the neighboring Riverine Valley in the late 1870s. Word of the beauty of the surrounding rock formations spread beyond the settlement as a possible tourist destination.

The Arches area was first brought to the attention of the National Park Service by Frank A. Wadleigh, passenger traffic manager of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Wadleigh, accompanied by railroad photographer George L. Beam, visited the area in September 1923 at the invitation of Alexander Ringhoffer, a Hungarian-born prospector living in Salt Valley. Ringhoffer had written to the railroad to interest them in the tourist potential of a scenic area he had discovered the previous year with his two sons and a son-in-law, which he called the Devils Garden (known today as the Klondike Bluffs). Wadleigh was impressed by what Ringhoffer showed him, and suggested to Park Service director Stephen T. Mather that the area be made a national monument.

The following year, additional support for the monument idea came from Laurence Gould, a University of Michigan graduate student (and future polar explorer) studying the geology of the nearby La Sal Mountains, who was shown the scenic area by local physician Dr. J. W. "Doc" Williams.

 Landscape Arch in the Devils Garden, the longest in the park and the fifth-longest in the world

A succession of government investigators examined the area, in part due to confusion as to the precise location. In the process, the name Devils Garden was transposed to an area on the opposite side of Salt Valley that includes Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the park. Ringhoffer's original discovery was omitted, while another area nearby, known locally as the Windows, was included. Designation of the area as a national monument was supported by the Park Service in 1926 but was resisted by President Calvin Coolidge's Interior Secretary, Hubert Work. Finally, in April 1929, shortly after his inauguration, President Herbert Hoover signed a presidential proclamation creating the Arches National Monument, consisting of two comparatively small, disconnected sections. The purpose of the reservation under the 1906 Antiquities Act was to protect the arches, spires, balanced rocks, and other sandstone formations for their scientific and educational value. The name Arches was suggested by Frank Pinkely, superintendent of the Park Service's southwestern national monuments, following a visit to the Windows section in 1925.

In late 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a proclamation that enlarged the Arches to protect additional scenic features and permit the development of facilities to promote tourism. A small adjustment was made by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1960 to accommodate a new road alignment.

In early 1969, just before leaving office, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation substantially enlarging the Arches. Two years later, President Richard Nixon signed legislation enacted by Congress, which significantly reduced the total area enclosed, but changed its status. Arches National Park was formally dedicated in May 1972.[1]

In 1980, vandals attempted to use an abrasive kitchen cleanser to deface ancient petroglyphs in the park, prompting park officials to recruit physicist John F. Asmus, who specialized in using lasers to restore works of art, to use his technology to repair the damage. Asmus "zapped the panel with intense light pulses and succeeded in removing most of the cleanser".[2] In 2016, there was another vandalism event on Frame Arch in the park, where a section of the rock was carved out. Due to advances in technology, in 2018 the arch was repaired through color match and modern infilling methods.[3]

^ "Utah Park Dedicated," Deseret News 13 May 1972 pp. T-1 and T-2 ^ Mary S. Rauch, The Newest in Science is Working To Save the Oldest in Art, Newport News Daily Press (December 28, 1980), Parade p. 16. ^ "Using New Techniques to Combat Graffiti (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Archived from the original on 2023-02-19. Retrieved 2023-02-19.
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