… was redesignated from national monument to national park on this date in 1971.
Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations. In some areas, the forces of nature have exposed millions of years of geologic history. The extraordinary features of the park create a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures that is unlike any other in the world.
For there is a cloud on my horizon. A small dark cloud no bigger than my hand. Its name is Progress.
The ease and relative freedom of this lovely job at Arches follow from the comparative absence of the motorized tourists, who stay away by the millions. And they stay away because of the unpaved entrance road, the unflushable toilets in the campgrounds, and the fact that most of them have never even heard of Arches National Monument.
The Master Plan has been fulfilled. Where once a few adventurous people came on weekends to camp for a night or two and enjoy a taste of the primitive and remote, you will now find serpentine streams of baroque automobiles pouring in and out, all through the spring and summer, in numbers that would have seemed fantastic when I worked there: from 3,000 to 30,000 to 300,000 per year, the “visitation,” as they call it, mounts ever upward.
Progress has come at last to Arches, after a million years of neglect. Industrial Tourism has arrived.
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire (1968)
“In 2010, the park received over one million visitors.”
Arches is magnificent and should be on any list of must-see national parks.