Location and Values: The Grand Canyon is among the earth’s most spectacular geological features. It appears as a vast chasm in the Earth’s crust, 1.5 km deep, carved by the erosive force of the Colorado River over 6 million years. From the canyon rim the visitor looks down on massive buttes, spires, mesas and temples, while the exposed horizontal strata retrace geological history over 2 billion years, revealing Earth’s four major geologic eras.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s recent Conservation Outlook Assessment the conservation status of the Grand Canyon is ‘good with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that ‘overall the state of world heritage values is stable or declining slightly, with some key areas of concern and potential deterioration in the next decade. These include: uranium mining; bison, elk, and non-native fish increases; development in the park at the Little Colorado River area and at Quartermaster Canyon; increases in overflights; reservoir equalization flows between Lake Powell and Lake Mead; management capacity; and major developments and groundwater extraction at Tusayan. Opportunities exist for correction of all of these threats. The population trends of some species are in decline and are beginning to warrant concern that the park and surrounding areas will not eventually serve the needs of the park. Key concerns include external tourism development, internal tourism development, management of the Colorado River, restoration of fire in a drought cycle, potential for mining, bison management, and funding for operations and infrastructure.’
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description