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Yellowstone, Grand Canyon among top endangered lands, group says

The Florida Everglades
The Florida Everglades

Message Board: Saving the environment


June 21, 1999
Web posted at: 5:11 p.m. EDT (2111 GMT)

In this story:

List of 15 most-endangered lands


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Some of America's best-known natural areas are among its most endangered, according to a list released Monday by the Wilderness Society, a Washington-based national conservation group.

The Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks are threatened by their own popularity, said Wilderness Society President Bill Meadows.

Snowmobiles, increasingly common during Yellowstone's winter season and a familiar target of environmentalists, were cited as a major threat to air quality in the park.

The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon   

Sightseeing aircraft, cars, and buses are infringing on the tranquility of the Grand Canyon, the report said.

Other well-known preserves made the list: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, site of a two-decade-long debate over oil drilling; Everglades National Park, where water diversion and sugar cane farming are blamed for harming the park's ecosystem; and Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp, where environmentalists say a controversial mining proposal threatens the water supply.

The society said suburbs and vacation homes threaten California's Sierra Nevada range, while off-road vehicles are spoiling the Mojave National Preserve and wilderness in Southern Utah.

"All of us need to become familiar with the wild lands in our local areas and how they are being managed," Meadows said. "Additionally, citizens should support crucial legislation to protect these special lands."

 15 most-endangered lands (cause of threats in parentheses)
   Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska (oil drilling)
   Cascade Crest, Washington (commercial logging)
    Copper River Delta in Chugach National Forest, Alaska (proposed logging by a native Alaskan corporation)
    The Everglades, Florida (water diversion, sugar cane farming)
    Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (tourist planes, cars and buses)
    Greater Yellowstone, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho (snowmobiles)
    Klamath Basin, California and Oregon (drainage of wetlands for agricultural use)
    Maine's North Woods (commercial logging on privately-owned land, increased logging)
    Mojave National Preserve, California
    Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia and Florida (proposed mining)
    Owyhee Canyonlands, Idaho (low-altitude training and bombing by military jets)
    Sierra Nevada Old-Growth Forest, California (suburbs and vacation homes)
    The Sonoran Desert, Arizona (expanded military exercises)
    The Utah Wilderness (off-road vehicles)

       Source: Wilderness Society

Road-building moratorium loopholes decried
May 3, 1999
Yellowstone, Smokies cited on endangered parks list
April 20, 1999
Financial issues swamp efforts to block Okefenokee mine
February 15, 1999

The Wilderness Society (TWS)
   •TWS Newsroom - WILD LANDS 1999 REPORT
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