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Canyonlands National Park faces a thorny issue

As the imported beetles continue their assault on the shrubs, not everyone agrees with eradication of non-native species.

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"We have some of the best archeological resources in the country and they are protected by tamarisk," Young said. "It is a pretty effective barrier to most visitors. You have to be stupid or a park ranger to crawl through some places. I can’t ask for a better way to protect them."

One thing visitors along the Colorado in the national park instantly notice about the demise of tamarisk is the lack of shade during blistering mid-summer days.

At a glance

Five things not to miss at Canyonlands National Park

Sunrise or sunset at the Grand View Point Overlook in the Island In The Sky District.

A river trip on the Green or Colorado rivers.

Mountain biking the White Rim Trail.

Hiking to the Great Gallery pictograph panel in the Horseshoe Canyon Unit.

Visiting the Doll House, a collection of sandstone pinnacles, domes, hoodoos and tower formations accessed via a very rough 4-wheel-drive road or a 1,000-foot hike from the Colorado River.

For more information on Canyonlands National Park, go to http://www.nps.gov/cany/index.htm.

Brett Prettyman

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Ranger Young has been working to remedy that by planting native cottonwood trees in key locations at popular stops and campsites along the river. The National Park Service has planted 55 trees in the river corridor.

"Dying tamarisk is not a fun thing to sit under on a hot day," said Tim Gaylord, operations manager for Holiday River Expeditions. "We use times like those as an opportunity to talk with our guests about invasive species and their ability to proliferate and change the course of the river, literally. Seeing the huge stands of dead and dying tamarisk really shows the scope and scale of the impact of tamarisk."


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