Arches National Park is a U.S. national park in eastern Utah. It is known for preserving over 2000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations.
The park is located near Moab, Utah, and is 119 square miles (310 km2) in size. Its highest elevation is 5,653 feet (1,723 m) at Elephant Butte, and its lowest elevation is 4,085 feet (1,245 m) at the visitor center. Since 1970, forty-three arches have toppled because of erosion. The park receives 10 inches (250 mm) of rain a year on average.
The area, administered by the National Park Service, was originally designated as a national monument on April 12, 1929. It was redesignated a national park on November 12, 1971. More than 833,000 people visited in 2006.
Climbing of named arches within the park has long been banned by park regulations. However, following a successful free climb of Delicate Arch in May 2006, the wording of the regulations was deemed unenforceable by the park attorney. In response, the park revised its regulations as follows:
- “All rock climbing or similar activities on any arch or natural bridge named on the United States Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographical maps covering Arches National Park are prohibited.”
Climbing of other features in the park is allowed, but regulated. The revised regulations also prohibit slacklining parkwide. Approved recreational activities include auto touring, backpacking, biking, camping, and hiking, some of which require permits. There are also guided commercial tours and ranger programs.
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