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Wilderness Volunteers

Cordova Canyon, Arches National Park, UT (Apr 28th - May 4th 2019)

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Just a few miles outside of the town of Moab, Arches National Park covers over 76,000 acres of red rock wonderland. From the freestanding beauty of Delicate Arch to the gravity-defying wonder of Balanced Rock to the towering monoliths of Park Avenue, there are many fantastic rock formations to see. While the most famous feature of the Park is the world's largest concentration of natural sandstone arches (over 2000), the park also contains an astounding variety of other geological formations. Colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles, and spires dwarf visitors as they explore the park's hiking trails. After just two seasons working as a park ranger at Arches National Park, Edward Abbey wrote Desert Solitaire; a memoir about his experiences in the Park including descriptions of the plants, animals, geography, and climate of the region.

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.” ― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Our service project will be assisting the NPS with removing invasive ripgut brome in the upper tributaries of Courthouse Wash and Dragonfly Canyon, major riparian corridors at Arches. As the name of this non-native species implies, ripgut brome can wreak havoc on the diets of native wildlife, for it has sharp barbs on its seed heads. Spreading of this invasive species throughout the park has the potential to adversely affect wildlife populations, and it has definite negative effects on native plant communities due to its competitive nature. Work will involve hiking 3-5 miles per day to hand-pull grasses up to 2 feet tall; frequent bending, stooping and work on hands and knees will be required. We will visit a new area of the Arch: Cordova Canyon, which is a tributary of Upper Salt Wash at Arches National Park. It's a remote, unvisited area with beautiful slick rock outcrops and pools. Weather-dependent, this project may also assist a grassland restoration project in Salt Valley for a day. We'll camp in a group campsite reserved for us in a designated campground with standard amenities. On our day off, we'll have any number of exciting options including visiting arches throughout the Park, hiking to nearby pictographs and getting to know the mysteries of the southwest!

This project is rated as a strenuous project.

Check out more photos of last year's Arches National Park service project in our gallery.


Apr 28th - May 4th 2019

Service Project

Invasive plant removal in the National Park

Agency logo

Free Days

Day hiking, arch exploring, photography, river swimming, scenic drives, and basking in the southwest


Tent camping in established campsite

Project Difficulty

Strenuous : Digging, raking, bending, hand pulling


Jerry Lehman
Linda Ziesmer

Equipment List