chapter  6
18 Pages

Threats to the Parks

WithWilliam C. Everhart

The consequences of burning coal in the power plants of the Southwest are becoming more evident, as a region that once had some of the clearest skies in America is being pockmarked by plumes from the generating stacks. Along an eight-mile section of a broad shallow valley in northern New Mexico stands the imposing and classic ruin of Pueblo Bonito, the finest known example of pueblo architecture. A series of expeditions in the 1920s excavated the ruins, and during the past decade a large-scale research project, involving several institutions, has sought to unravel the compelling mysteries of Chaco Canyon. The character of the region and its parks could be permanently altered by massive proposals in the planning stage. The report identified seventy-three different kinds of threats; as the headline indicated, some parks did seem to be under siege. One of the most dangerous threats to the national parks come from the inexorable search for energy, principally in the West.