FLAA Student Program 2011 - Southwest National Parks

State: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah
Region: Four Corners States - American Southwest

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 CU Boulder and Colorado Mountain College flew to the Four Corners region and conducted overflights of Mesa Verde National Park and the adjacent Four Corners coal-fired power plants, two of the dirtiest and most polluting power plants in the country. We met and flew with the San Juan Citizens Alliance and members of the Navajo Nation who are severely impacted by the coal development in the area. We then flew south to Arizona and the Grand Canyon National Park and met and flew with members of the Havasupai Indian tribe and Grand Canyon Trust over the uranium mining threats to the Canyon and contamination of the Colorado River. Continuing north to Utah, we flew over Bryce Canyon National Park and the recently developed Alton strip coal mine, located within 10 miles of the national park.
After meeting with members of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, we flew over the desert wild lands of Canyonlands National Park and the multiple impacts from oil and gas development on adjacent lands, that threaten to release chemical pollutants into the atmosphere, harm wildlife and contaminate critical desert waters.


Watch this video for the story by Aspen Public Radio's Luke Runyon with images from the trip!


Oftentimes, students will write articles or make their own film about their experience during these programs. Watch this film, produced by Colorado Mountain College student Ben Saheb, to learn more about our 2011 Flight Across America Program!