In the future, there may be fewer snow-capped peaks to gaze at in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The meadows on the west side of the park may change as the climate warms and dries, making them less hospitable to moose and pine martens, and aspens across the park may disappear along with the plants that call the tundra home.
These are the dire predictions of a report released yesterday by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which called climate change “the greatest threat ever” to national parks.
The report, called National Parks in Peril, listed the 25 parks most at risk of climate change and included two in Colorado: RMNP and Mesa Verde.
From the report’s Colorado fact sheet:
Mesa Verde is vulnerable to a loss of water, more downpours and floods, a loss of plant communities, a loss of wildlife, and a loss of cultural resources. Rocky Mountain is vulnerable to a loss of ice and snow, a loss of water, more downpours and floods, a loss of plant communities, a loss of wildlife, more crowding, a loss of fishing, and more air pollution. Other parks in Colorado, including Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and Dinosaur National Monument, face similar vulnerabilities. Read more