Flagstaff AZ (November 19, 2012) – The Flagstaff Area National Monuments has completed a wilderness eligibility assessment and has administratively determined that approximately 34,194 acres (96.5%) of land within Wupatki National Monument is eligible for a formal wilderness study. The Wilderness Act and NPS Management Policies require that the National Park Service (NPS) review all areas within units of the National Park System to determine if any meet the criteria identified in the 1964 Wilderness Act and the 2006 NPS Management Policies. A wilderness eligibility assessment is a coarse evaluation of whether or not areas in a park should be considered for wilderness designation. This managerial evaluation is the first step under NPS policies in determining if NPS land would be eligible for future wilderness designation.
Wupatki National Monument is located 26 miles north of Flagstaff and was established to protect significant prehistoric archaeological sites. Wupatki National Monument is also home to many native plants and animals. The determination of wilderness eligibility increases the protection of this land from future development and reduces the overall impact of monument activities on the landscape until a more detailed study can be completed.
A wilderness study will be initiated in the future and include full public involvement. It will follow the National Environmental Policy Act to develop alternatives and any recommendations to the United States Congress for wilderness designation. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Joshua Kleinman, Planning and Compliance Program Manager, Flagstaff Area National Monuments, 6400 N. Highway 89, Flagstaff, AZ 86004 or at Joshua_Kleinman@nps.gov.