Arches National Park officials plan to remove cottonwood trees in the visitor center parking lot and around the building to prevent infrastructure damage.
Tree removal is scheduled to take place sometime in late October. Work will be completed in the evening to maximize visitor and employee safety and minimize impacts to visitors during the day.
Park staff consulted with an arborist to discuss problems associated with the cottonwoods around the visitor center. The arborist recommended removal of the trees to prevent damage to pavement and the visitor center building itself and increase visitor safety.
If cottonwood trees are planted near pavement their roots can buckle the pavement creating tripping hazards. Also, falling branches can cause structural damage and pose safety hazards. Removal of cottonwood trees becomes more difficult as they grow, so park officials have decided to remove the trees now.
The park’s vegetation team plans to replace the parking lot cottonwood trees with native shrubs. The team is also hoping to plant a couple of cottonwoods in the culvert-fed depression just north of the visitor center parking lot entrance. These trees would not impact visitor safety or infrastructure.