You are here

PEER Applauds Determination On Potential Wupatki National Monument Wilderness, Calls For Additional Wilderness Reviews


A decision by National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis that there are wilderness quality lands in Wupatki National Monument has spurred a request that the Park Service review nine other parks where it has in the past concluded no such lands existed.

Since 1971, the Park Service has identified 10 units where it didn't see any lands qualified for wilderness designation. Wupatki had been one of those 10 units, but Director Jarvis earlier this year signed off on a determination that almost all of the 35,422-acre monument was worthy of such designation.

That recognition brought approval from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which often is critical of the Park Service.

"Dear Director Jarvis:

"Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has not often had the opportunity to commend you. But when you act to protect park resources, we owe you our support and commendation. In March 2013 you signed a wilderness eligibility determination for Wupatki National Monument, Arizona. The determination found over 34,000 acres eligible for wilderness. Your action, along with the conversion of potential wilderness to full wilderness at the Drake’s Bay in Point Reyes National Seashore at the end of 2012, advanced the unfinished wilderness agenda of the parks..."

PEER's letter to Director Jarvis last week also pointed out that the Wupatki determination was particularly noteworthy because the Park Service was not ordered by a court to perform the wilderness eligibility review.

"More encouraging, the Wupatki determination is the FIRST time in the nearly 50-year history of wilderness review that the NPS has reversed an earlier determination that a park contained no lands suitable (eligible) for wilderness," continued PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.

The PEER official went on to note that since 1971 the Park Service has determined that 10 areas of the park system contained no acreage with suitable, or eligible, lands for wilderness designation. Wupatki National Monument had been one of those ten, and PEER expressed hopes that the director's decision on wilderness quality lands there would lead to renewed looks at the nine other parks for wilderness quality acreage.

Those other units are: Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, Biscayne National Park in Florida, Canaveral National Seashore in Florida, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, New River Gorge National River in West Virginia, Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, and White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.


Thank you, Jim!

Hope this comes out better. I love Wupatki, truly! It just seems that elites can and do run amock. Everyone can. I forgive them but they need to clean up and respect the real.

In the name of non=compliance:).

Trailadvocate -

The weird "look" of your previous post was the probably the result of your composing it in another program (such as Word) and then using "copy and paste" to insert it as a comment in the Traveler. That often results in hidden (and unwanted) computer code showing up in the comment.

Best way to avoid that is to simply compose on the fly right in the comment box on the Traveler, although copy and paste from a text-only editor such as Notepad usually works okay.

Kurt's out of pocket, so I cleaned it up for you :-)

Not sure what's going on with the way the post appears. Help, Kurt:)!

The trouble with the present Wilderness Agenda is that, as collateral damage, it sentences ongoing living histories and cultures to museum pieces. What's seems to be happening is that a good bit of the environmental industrial complex (pardon the symbolism) takes no regard for those that have had the most connection to the places and can pass on their histories and culture in ways that are being lost, at great cost to the present culture. If you haven't looked lately, the culture is not in it's ascendancy.

Using Wupatki as an example, the Wilderness agenda, to follow it's goals required such non-conforming uses such as historical sheep grazing by the Navajos and in particular most recently the Peshlakais , to be eliminated. The last Peshlakai (James) was evicted from his Wupatki Range after working well with the functions of Wupatki Monument for many years. Since the Peshlakai's have gone it's been necessary to close access to most of the Monument to the public except for very limited Ranger led tours because of horrific vandalism and theft.

It's my thinking that there is very definitely an overreach in pursueing an effort to remove culture from wildlands. Especially ones that have have existed for a thousand years or one hundred in the case of Drakes Bay Oyster Co. We need these cultures more than ever.

It's probably a minority opinion among the NP hiking faithful. It's certainly not a minority opinion in the cycling community. Each time we talk about opposing argument, we hear FUD about Wall Street, oil drilling. The fact is that land can be preserved without being officially designated as Wilderness. Wildernuts will simply never have enough Wilderness and will always ask for more.

That is one of them Rick - but as is obvious from the posts here and the actions of Congress, certainly not the only one.

The 'opposition' being those with 30 years on Wall Street who have gone into real estate.

Dahkota - No doubt there are some lands that warrant preservation, but to imply that as much land as possible should be made wilderness (regardless of the merits) purely for the sake of "less development" is precisely the position that riles the opposition. Quality should be the determining factor not quanitity.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

Recent Forum Comments