National Parks

America’s National Parks are the “crown jewels” of our country. They represent the natural and cultural history of our nation and embody the American spirit. They are home to rare and endangered plant and animal species, and are sources of the clean air and clean water that we depend on. They provide places for every American to find peace and inspiration, to escape from the pressures of the ‘civilized’ world, and to experience our heritage.

Since its creation in 1872, the National Park Service, under the Department of the Interior has been in charge of protecting and managing nearly 400 National Parks and thousands of natural landmarks and historical sites. As our population increases, so do the dangers that threaten to destroy these special places. Lots of work and great care is needed to protect our parks for future generations. EcoFlight uses the aerial perspective along with tribes, non-profits, local governments, businesses and concerned citizens to give these places a voice, tell their story and ensure that our Parks are protected for present and future generations to enjoy.

National Parks by state
New Mexico
North Dakota
FLIGHTS: National Parks
2016 Flight Across America - National Park Centennial
State: Arizona, Colorado, Utah
Region: Southwest

In celebration of this centennial and in preparation for the next hundred years, EcoFlight’s student program focused on the importance of our national parks, the threats to them, and how we can be more inclusive in offering experiences to a wider variety of visitors, and how to include more perspectives in our advocacy.

Students studied Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde, National Parks, Colorado National Monument, and the proposed Grand Canyon and Bears Ears National Monuments.

Arizona - Grand Canyon National Park
State: Arizona
Description: On January 9th 2012, the Obama administration officially announced a ban on new mining on lands near Grand Canyon National Park. The 20-year ban will not affect any existing claims but will prevent any new mining claims in the area which have increased 2,000 percent in the past seven years... read more
Arizona - Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monumet
State: Arizona
Region: Grand Canyon Watershed
Description: More than 100 years ago President Theodore Roosevelt designated the Grand Canyon as a national monument, and since then much more of the Grand Canyon ecosystem has been protected. But the watershed, which includes tributary canyons, grasslands and springs that flow into the Colorado River and Grand Canyon, is still threatened by grazing, increasing motorized use, logging and uranium mining.
California -  Desert Conservation and Recreation Act
State: California
Region: Southern California

In February 2016, President Obama designated the Sand to Snow, Castle Mountains and Mojave Trails National Monuments after hearing from thousands of supporters urging him to preserve these important lands. The designations come after nearly a decade of work by Senator Dianne Feinstein and countless others to ensure protections for these areas for recreation and important wildlife values... read more

California - Joshua Tree National Park
State: California
Region: Mojave Desert/Colorado Desert
Description: Joshua Tree's 794,000 acres preserve portions of two spectacular desert ecosystems. The Colorado Desert in the eastern portion of the park features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, slightly cooler Mojave Desert features dazzling vistas of Joshua trees and yucca.
Colorado - Mesa Verde National Park
State: Colorado, New Mexico
Description: Mesa Verde National Park features thousands of archeological ruins that speak to the lives of the Ancestral Puebloan people, who built cliff dwellings there over 800 years ago. In addition to invasive species and other threats, air quality in the park is being continually degraded by two adjacent coal-fired power plants.
Colorado - National Monument
State: Colorado
Description: Colorado National Monument is located between Fruita and Grand Junction on Colorado's western slope.  The geology of this 32 square mile region showcases beautiful red sandstone canyons of ancient precambrian basement rocks which are only visible in a few places on the Colorado Plateau... continue reading...
Colorado - Rocky Mountain National Park
State: Colorado
Description: Rocky Mountain National Park is the living showcase of the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, but it is under threat from people and a bark beetle epidemic. Bark beetles have infected 50,000 acres—about 19 percent of the park, killing tens of thousands of pines since 2002... read more
Colorado - Tres Rios Master Leasing Plan
State: Colorado
Region: Western La Plata County and eastern Montezuma County
Description: The BLM’s Tres Rios office is looking at a Master Leasing Plan for western La Plata County and eastern Montezuma County. An MLP is a planning tool that lets both citizens, local governments, park managers and energy companies work to identify where and how responsible oil and gas development can take place, and where conflicts might exist - before leasing occurs.
Dinosaur National Monument
State: Colorado, Utah
Region: Colorado and Utah
Description: Though it is remotely located in the mountains and canyons of northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado, Dinosaur National Monument goes through days when the air quality is almost as bad as you might find in major metropolitan areas...
FLAA Student Program 2011 - Southwest National Parks
State: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah
Region: Four Corners States - American Southwest
Description: EcoFlight's 2011 Flight Across America Student Program was a three day intensive study of iconic national parks in the American Southwest and the environmental pressures being imposed on them.  EcoFlight and four students from Colorado Mountain College and CU Boulder flew over 5 national parks... read more
Montana - Upper Missouri Breaks - National Monument
State: Montana
Description: Having been designated as a national monument by President Clinton in 2001, this remote and beautiful landscape, with 149 miles of the Missouri River corridor designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, has finally begun to be recognized as a national treasure... read more
Montana - Waterton Glacier National Park
State: Montana
Description: The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is a designated World Heritage Site and is part of a large preserved ecosystem known as the "Crown of the Continent." Virtually all the plants and animals which existed at the time European explorers first entered the region are present in the park today... read more
National Parks Centennial
State: Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah
Region: U.S. Department of the Interior
Description: On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service turned 100!
New Mexico - Chaco Culture National Historical Park
State: New Mexico
Region: Northwestern New Mexico
Description: Chaco National Historical Park is designated as a World Heritage Site and is one of the finest examples of Puebloan culture centers in the Southwestern United States, yet it too is impacted by intensive energy development. Natural gas fields, coal and uranium mines, and coal-fired power plants are especially prevalent... read more
New Mexico - Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks National Monument
State: New Mexico
Region: Las Cruces
Description: On May 21st 2014, President Obama designated the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, becoming the largest National Monument of his presidency.... read more
New Mexico - Rio Grande del Norte
State: New Mexico
Description: On March 25th 2013, President Obama acted to protect 240,000 acres of the Rio Grande del Norte region of New Mexico through a national monument designation. In May 2015, Senators Heinricha nd Udall introduced a bill to designate two wilderness areas within the monument.
North Dakota - Theodore Roosevelt National Park
State: North Dakota
Region: Western North Dakota
Description: Theodore Roosevelt National Park includes three geographically separate units located in western North Dakota on the badlands.  The Little Missouri River runs through all three units of the park, with a combined total of 110 square miles.  Continue reading...
Utah - Bryce Canyon National Park
State: Utah
Region: Southern Utah
Description: Bryce Canyon is famous for its unique geology. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes, including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called "hoodoos"... read more
Utah - Canyonlands National Park
State: Utah
Description: Canyonlands National Park is located in southeastern Utah and is geologically located in the heart of the Colorado Plateau. Read more...
Utah - Cedar Breaks National Monument
State: Utah
Region: Cedar City, Utah
Description: Cedar Breaks National Monument is a canyon located on the west side of the Colorado Plateau. This area is known for its external beauty but also contains a treasure chest of information about the mysterious surge of carbon that was released into our atmosphere 56 million years ago... read more
Utah - Greater Canyonlands
State: Utah
Description: The Greater Canyonlands area extends beyond Canyonlands National Park over 1.4 million acres. Threatened by off-road vehicle abuse, oil and gas, nuclear and tar sands mining, this area contains scenic getaways for tourists, 12,000 year old archeological sites, and a rich history of Native American culture.... read more
Utah - Zion National Park
State: Utah
Description: Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah near Springdale.  The geology of the park includes winding canyons, sandstone peaks and high desert plateaus.  Read more...
Wyoming - Grand Teton National Park
State: Wyoming
Region: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Description: Located in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which includes the remarkable Teton mountain range, magnificent Snake River corridor, and the incredible and diverse wildlife in the Grand Teton and Yellowstone region... read more