The Colorado River is consistently ranked as the most endangered river in the country. Decisions made in the Colorado Water Plan will have implications for national parks in the entire Colorado River Basin, both within and downstream from the state's borders.


National Parks of the Colorado River Basin

This report focuses on the ways in which management of the dams along the Colorado River and its major tributaries affects resources in five national parks in the Colorado River…

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The 11 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas within the Colorado Basin, including the Grand Canyon, Dinosaur National Monument, and Canyonlands National Park are treasures that rely on a functioning river system to be protected for present and future generations. Many of these parks lack specific legislation or approved water rights to ensure that they receive adequate water supply to support healthy ecosystems and native fish populations, recreational opportunities, or to maintain the iconic geologic features.

In so many ways, Americans’ direct experience with the Colorado River comes through their connection with its national parks. NPCA’s Colorado River Program advocates for basin-wide river management reform of the Colorado River basin. The foundation of this program is fact-based advocacy and engagement with a variety of organizations including environmental partners, state and federal agencies and legislators, municipal water providers, and local constituencies engaged in water-policy discussions. Program goals include:

  • Working with the National Park Service, Department of Interior, and other partners to advocate for and encourage proactive measures for long-term restoration and protection of park lands.
  • Establishment of a strong and varied stakeholder constituency that advocates for improved, holistic basin-wide river management reform.
  • Development of a basin-wide strategy and communications plan that will work to restrict river diversions and protect fragile ecosystems and cultural resources.

Through this expanding collaboration, we seek to reinforce the need to view national park units as part of larger landscapes and ecosystems that require collaboration among disparate stakeholders. We believe that by highlighting the profound impact river management and continued diversion has on our national parks—places that are both beloved for their beauty and valued for their economic leverage—we can engage a diverse, non-traditional network of voices who will advocate to save the Colorado River.


  • Urge Governor Hickenlooper to consider national parks in the Colorado Water Plan

    Oct 2015

    480 letters sent

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