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Grand Canyon Watershed

Distant shot of canyon country, with lush riparian corridor in foreground
Grand Canyon. Photo: William C. Gladish

Grand Canyon is one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world and a crown jewel in America’s National Park System. The Grand Canyon’s watershed includes nearly 2 million acres of unprotected land surrounding the canyon itself, and is a critical link in the vast, Blue Range-Grand Canyon-Yellowstone Wildway. The imperiled public lands adjacent to and draining into the Grand Canyon comprise dramatic escarpments, plateaus, and canyons that support a unique diversity of native species—including California condors, mountain lions, pronghorns, and mule deer.


In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt—exasperated by Congressional reluctance to protecting the Grand Canyon—proclaimed the area a national monument, laying the foundation for the eventual national park.

Unfortunately, Roosevelt’s plan omitted most of the forested Kaibab Plateau, one of the last remote old-growth forests in the Southwest. The plateau and other ecologically critical lands outside the park have since been exploited for their natural resources through mining, logging, and grazing.

Campaign Priorities

Wildlands Network helped initiate a growing movement to protect the Grand Canyon’s watershed in perpetuity. To date, we have largely focused our work to protect Grand Canyon on building public support for the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act, which would:

Lone pronghorn walking through a meadow of yellow flowers
Pronghorn, Arizona. Photo: USFWS
  • make permanent the existing 20-year moratorium on new uranium mining claims within Grand Canyon’s watershed;
  • protect the old-growth ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forest of the Kaibab Plateau and the forest south of the park (South Rim Headwaters);
  • provide local Tribal communities with greater oversight of and participation in public land management.

Fact Sheet about the Proposed National Monument

We are also:

  1. protecting and restoring core areas and migration corridors on public wildlands surrounding Grand Canyon;
  2. working with Native communities to prevent resource development harmful to Traditional values and places;
  3. ensuring that resilient habitat principles are incorporated into new resource management plans for the Grand Canyon ecoregion.


Wildlands Network collaborates with the following organizations in our work to protect Grand Canyon:

I am bound to the earth by a web of stories. Scott Russell Sanders, Staying Put


For more information about our Grand Canyon Watershed campaign and how to get involved, contact Kelly Burke, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Digital Campaigns,, 928-606-7870.