Green Mountain National Park is in danger of disappearing from the map, and it is time for the state to protect the park from extinction, the Sierra Club has said.
The Green Mountain Regional Planning Commission, which oversees the park, recently approved a plan to relocate the park’s visitor center, a large visitor center on the Green Mountain Peak, from its current location on the north side of the park to the south side, a move that could save up to $1.2 million a year, the group said in a statement.
“The decision to relocate visitors from the visitor center to the north makes perfect sense,” said Sierra Club President Dan Ashe.
“Visitors to the park have long enjoyed the unique nature and history of the area, which makes the loss of the visitor access to the mountain a real concern.”
The center, which opened in 1877, was located on the edge of the Green Mountains, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Salt Lake City.
The state owns the park and its 2,200-acre (800-square-kilometer) preserve.
It is managed by the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
The proposed move comes amid a rapid loss of biodiversity in the park.
The park is the only national park in the United States with a population of fewer than 30,000.
In the 1970s, it lost 70 percent of its wildflowers and 80 percent of all its wildlife.
The loss has forced the state and park managers to consider a variety of options, including the relocation of some of the main attractions to the visitor centers.
A new visitor center could be built on the summit, but it would not replace the old one, said Ashe.
The Sierra Club called on the commission to “take immediate action” to protect Green Mountain’s ecological integrity.
The group’s statement comes less than a week after the state removed the word “tolerant” from the state’s wildlife regulations.
The regulations have been in effect since December and the last one was approved by the governor in late January.
A proposal to change the regulations was approved last month by the commission and the Sierra has urged the commission “to act now to protect endangered species and preserve critical habitat” at the park as well.
The move comes after the commission said last month that it was considering whether to allow the relocation, and a new proposal to do so has been approved by state lawmakers.
The current visitor center is located on a slope that slopes over the valley floor, with an elevation of 5,100 feet (1,700 meters).
It was built in 1876 and was named after Governor George M. Green, who was one of the first settlers in the area.
It was a “very large and functional” building, according to the state.
The new visitor facility is scheduled to open in mid-2019.