By the Numbers


Days Utah BLM allowed the public to review environmental analysis for leases covering 134,000 acres near the park


Price paid per acre by oil and gas companies for more than 40 parcels near Canyonlands


Amount national parks contributed to Utah’s economy in 2018

The city of Moab has become a thriving hub for travel and adventure tourism thanks to the popularity of Utah’s National Parks, the area’s extensive outdoor recreation opportunities and successful marketing efforts. In 2018, national park tourism was a billion-dollar industry for the state.


Preserving an immense desert wilderness sculpted by the Green and Colorado Rivers, Canyonlands National Park features hundreds of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches and spires. This landscape draws visitors from across the world to hike among the breathtaking rock formations.

Canyonlands and nearby Arches National Park have turned the neighboring city of Moab into a thriving destination hub for tourists. Combined, these parks welcomed more than 2.4 million visitors in 2018 who spent $246 million in nearby communities, supported 3,725 local jobs and produced $317 million in cumulative benefit to the local economy.

Spoiling Park Resources

[SPOILED PARKS] CANY interior map

Development around Canyonlands National Park. (click map to enlarge) + Click to download (PDF)

Recent advances in drilling technology have brought renewed industry attention to aging oil and gas fields in southern Utah. Lease sales, drilling, light and air pollution, industrial traffic and climate change all pose real threats to the parks and visitor experience of this one-of-a-kind landscape found nowhere else on earth.

This administration halted an ongoing, stakeholder-driven process to create a Master Leasing Plan in the San Rafael Desert covering over 500,000 acres north of Canyonlands and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This effort would have provided protections to the Horseshoe Canyon unit of Canyonlands, which contains some of the oldest and most important rock art in North America.

The plan also would have protected the Orange Cliffs of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and sections of the Colorado River. Without a Master Leasing Plan, this land is now available for oil and gas leasing. Additionally in May 2020 administration just announced that it plans to offer almost 100,000 acres for lease this year within miles of Arches and Canyonlands, threatening to industrialize the landscape. The leases would alter the parks beyond recognition. Fortunately, thanks to the hard work of NPCA and advocates across the country, the administration announced that it will not offer the leases.

Resources Threatened

  • Air quality
  • Visitor experience
  • Outdoor recreation economy
  • Night skies

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