KNAU and Arizona News
11:34 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Wupatki National Monument Study Will Determine Wilderness Eligibility

Wupatki National Monument, north of Flagstaff.
Credit Chris Coe

An eligibility assessment conducted by the National Park Service has concluded that almost 97 percent of Wupatki National Monument, north of Flagstaff, is eligible for a formal wilderness study. The 1964 Wilderness Act and 2006 NPS Management Policies require that all areas managed by the National Park Service are reviewed to determine if they meet criteria for wilderness designation. President Calvin Coolidge established the Monument in 1924 to protect the abundant prehistoric archaeological sites in the area, which span at least ten thousand years. It's also home to many native plants and animals. Should the nearly 35 thousand acres be determined wilderness eligible, it would mean more protection for the land from development. And it would reduce the overall impact from visitor and vehicle use. The formal wilderness study will include a public comment period. A completion date has not yet been determined.