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Homework 15: Impact of tourism on an extreme environment – Moab

Moab in Utah, USA, is an example of an ‘extreme environment’. It is a very popular tourist destination offering a wide variety of outdoor activities, many of which can be damaging to the fragile ecosystem. While the adjacent Arches National Park is carefully protected, the area around Moab itself is under threat from visitor pressure.

The Big Showoff

Task 1: Where is Moab?
Examine the location of Moab using Google Maps. Check the Street View, satellite image and terrain map as well.
1.Describe the location of Moab in relation to the rest of the USA.
2.Use the satellite and terrain views in Google Maps to make some brief comments about the physical geography of the Moab area.


Task 2: Why is Moab an “extreme environment”?
Extreme Landscape:
Examine some creative commons photographs taken in the Moab area by following this link. Choose an image that you think is representative of an “extreme environment” and click on it to open it up in Flickr. Add annotations (detailed labels) to the photo using the drawing tools in your word processor.
 Take care to credit the photographer (the name of the person who uploaded the image)


Extreme Environment:
Read this web page about the environment of Moab (This page is slow to load) Make a list of reasons why Moab is a fragile (easily damaged) environment. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE ASSIGNMENT)


Extreme Climate:
Look at some climate data for Moab.
1.Which is the driest month of the year in Moab?
2.In which month would you choose to visit Moab and why?


Task 3: What is the attraction of Moab for visitors?
1.Make a list of the reasons why people are attracted to the Moab area.
This video illustrates three different recreational activities taking place along the Slickrock trail at Moab.
2.Name the three activities illustrated in the video.
3.Pick one of the activities from the video and write a short paragraph to explain why Moab makes a good location for the activity.
4.Make a list of five hazards that face mountain bikers in Moab.


Task 4: Was Dean Potter right to climb Delicate Arch?
The Arches National Park authorities manage visitor activities very strictly to conserve the environment. In 2006, American rock climber Dean Potter controversially climbed a feature called the Delicate Arch.
A story about the event appeared on National Public Radio. Read the story and listen to an interview with Dean Potter (click the ‘Listen Now’ link just below the headline). ???As a result of the controversy, Potter lost his sponsorship with the clothing company Patagonia, and park officials tightened the regulations on climbing in Arches National Park, upsetting many people.
Do you think the Arches National Park officials are right to ban all climbing activities on the natural arches around Moab? Justify your answer in a short paragraph.


If you want, you can download a word document to complete with your answers. Please upload your finished work to your Posterous.


Teachers please note:
This is an adaptation of a WebQuest I originally wrote for Kerboodle Secondary in support of the AQA Geography GCSE Syllabus A. Please do not copy or repost anywhere else.