NPS to pilot timed-entry reservation system at Arches National Park in 2022
The National Park Service announced its intention to implement a temporary, timed-entry reservation system at the highly visited Arches National Park in 2022.
“By implementing a temporary, timed-entry reservation system, our goal is to better spread visitation throughout the day to reduce traffic congestion and visitor crowding. We believe this will create a higher-quality experience while maximizing access for our visitors,” said Arches National Park Superintendent Patricia Trap. “Additionally, we will use data gathered from this pilot to adapt and improve this system throughout the season, as well as to inform our future responses going forward.”
The pilot will run from April 3 to October 3, 2022. Visitors can book reservations first-come, first-served on Recreation.gov beginning at 8 a.m. MST on January 3, 2022. The park will release reservations three months in advance in monthly blocks.
After booking a reservation, visitors will receive a Timed Entry Ticket. Timed Entry Tickets will be required to enter the park from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and will allow visitors to enter the park during a one-hour specified window of availability.
Learn more by reading the news release or by visiting go.nps.gov/ArchesTicket.
CNHA Funds Seeding Project in the Manti La Sal
In mid-November, the Moab Ranger District folks from the Forest Service, Utah Conservation Corps, Rim to Rim Restoration, and locals from Moab and Pack Creek Ranch worked together to seed 35 acres in the Pack Creek burn area.
A horse packed seed up to the area and 30 people hand-broadcast and raked in a mix of native forbs and grasses including Rocky Mountain Bee Plant, Northern sweetvetch, penstemons, and Indian ricegrass.
“We would really like to thank the entire community of volunteers who came together to help with the project.” This included other partners such as the Canyonlands Natural History Association, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative who donated seed, and the U.S. Geological Survey who is doing post-fire monitoring.
“The Pack Creek fire has had a tremendous impact on the community and the landscape. It says a lot about southeast Utah when we respond together with good deeds and great concern. Thank you to our partners and volunteers, and the community as a whole for your exceptional support,” says Michael Engelhart, District Ranger of the Moab and Monticello Ranger District.
The Pack Creek fire started on June 9, 2021, and burned approximately 9000 acres. The Pack Creek fire was caused by an abandoned campfire illegally constructed within the Pack Creek Day Use Area. The investigation is ongoing and the case remains unsolved. Please remember to follow campfire safety etiquette, fire restrictions, and regulations. Never leave a campfire unattended at any time of the year.
Closing Uranium Mines: What Happens to the Bats?
By Pam Riddle, Moab BLM
Due to potential radiation exposure, bat use in uranium mines is often perceived as adverse, but is it? What if habitat loss is a greater threat? How does radiation affect bats in old uranium mines? Sealing uranium mines in Utah is typical due to potential radiation concerns. However, bat habitat loss has not been well addressed, nor have radiation levels and the real effects on bats.
Over the past century, loss of forest habitat and increases in recreational caving have displaced bats from their roosting and hibernaculum habitats. This has made abandoned mines more important, especially to bats that return year after year to the same roosts.
To facilitate discussions on closure methods that would continue to allow bat access (bat gates & grates), the Moab BLM and Bat Conservation International embarked on a Graduate Research project with Northern Arizona University to better understand radon behavior in various mines throughout the four corners area and how this behavior related to bat use and radon exposure.
This study identified bat use areas, seasonal radon levels, and seasonal dose exposure to bats. Bat use in these mines typically occurs near shaft openings and ceiling areas, with greater bat use in the winter months by hibernating bats.
Preliminary results indicate that during the summer months, radon, a gas that is denser than warm air, sank to the floor with decreasing levels near the ceiling. In winter months, cold dense air displaced radon and either moved it out of the mine or upward.
In this study, winter radon levels in areas used by bats were lower than in the summer. Estimations of absorbed doses to bats in these mines fell below the International Atomic Energy Agency recommendation for levels harmful to animals.
Mines have seasonal air movement that reduces radon levels in ceiling spaces and near shaft openings where bats roost and hibernate. Hibernating bats have decreased metabolism that also reduces their environmental exposures to radon. Because radon occurs naturally, cave-obligate bats may have evolved in the presence of radon and may have adaptations to cope with the adverse effects.
This cooperative research project helped foster a more proactive approach to conserving bat habitats in uranium mines. Currently in Moab and other areas in Utah, uranium mines providing bat habitat remain accessible if shaft structure and radiation levels allow for the installation of grates/gates. This allows bats to continue to access established habitats, provides monitoring opportunities, and facilitates future research needs on this matter.
This is an excerpt from the Canyonlands Natural History Association’s Member Newsletter. To find out more about CNHA and how to get your own copy delivered, visit the Canyonlands Natural History Association website.