Gravity, erosion rob Utah park of popular arch – CNN.com

Wall Arch (before collapse)ARCHES NATIONAL PARK, Utah (AP) — One of the largest and most photographed arches in Arches National Park has collapsed.

Paul Henderson, the park’s chief of interpretation, said Wall Arch collapsed sometime late Monday or early Tuesday.

The arch is along Devils Garden Trail, one of the most popular in the park. For years, the arch has been a favorite stopping point for photographers.

Henderson said the arch was claimed by forces that will eventually destroy others in the park: gravity and erosion.

“They all let go after a while,” he said Friday.

He said it’s the first collapse of a major arch in the park since nearby Landscape Arch fell in 1991. No one has reported seeing it fall.

Wall Arch (after collapse)I’ve never been a big hiker; primarily because it hurts my knees so much … even when I was fit, I never did well walking any great distances, especially not in the heat.

But knowing that one of Utah’s great natural wonders is no more still kind of hits home, because it means that there is one less thing of beauty in the world that I’ll ever get a chance to see.

When I first say the headline, before clicking through to read the full article, I thought “Oh no! Delicate Arch is gone!” … as anyone who lives in Utah knows, Delicate Arch is one of Utah’s major symbols; featured on one of the two main license plate designs.

There was a great deal of controversy a couple years ago when Dean Potter climbed Delicate Arch, possibly causing irreparable damage to the sandstone formation in the process.

Some day, all of the arches will collapse, as gravity and erosion continue to take their toll, but hopefully no more will go before I get a chance to get out there to see them.

Read more about this story at the Salt Lake Tribune.