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Everglades National Park

The subtropical wilderness

 

The Everglades National Park is a beautiful region found in the American State of Florida. The park protects the original Everglades and it’s the biggest subtropical wilderness today also. There are at least a million visitors that flock to the park every year and it is one of the most talked about National parks also. The Everglades is one of the biggest national parks in America today, it is in fact the third biggest; the other parks which are bigger than the Everglades are Yellowstone and Death Valley.

The Everglades have been named as a Wetland of International Importance as well as an International Biosphere Reserve and named a World Heritage Site also. The Everglades is only one of three sites to be named on all three lists which is an amazing achievement. The park does have a very fragile ecosystem and the park was created to protect this ecosystem.

The Everglades are very beautiful however and there are a series of networks of forests and wetlands. This river flows almost .40 kilometres every day from the Lake of Lake Okeechobee. This flows into the Florida Bay, south west to be exact. The Everglades are going to be a fantastic breeding ground for tropical wading birds; and it is one of the biggest breeding grounds in the entire North American continent.

The Everglades also has the biggest mangrove ecosystem; this is one of the biggest in the entire western hemisphere also. The Everglades are home to almost 36 different protected and threatened species in Florida today. These can include the West Indian Manatee, the Florida Panther as well as the American Crocodile; in fact the crocodiles are going to be one of the best known animals found here which is why heading to the Everglades can be very dangerous at times also.

Everglades national park Facts
Airboat ride on the Everglades national park

However, the Everglades are also the home to all sorts of plants, animals and marine life; and the area will support them also. These can include forty different species of mammal life, almost three hundred and fifty different types of birds, fifty species of reptiles and three hundred species of fresh and salt water fish also. Most of the fresh water in South Florida comes from the Biscayne Aquifer and is placed back into the park.

For many years, people have lived near or in the Everglades; however in 1882, people were forced to move because of plans to develop the land by draining the wetlands. This was to help the land recover for residential and agricultural use. However, the Lake Okeechobee’s flowing water began to be controlled and later diverted so that the South Florida metropolitan area was free to grow and it expanded greatly.

In 1934, the park was first established; this was because the Everglades were being depleted and it was quickly being destroyed. The park was dedicated in 1947 also; with the rising buildings being created across South Florida, the need to protect the park was great. Due to human activity, the ecosystems of the Everglades suffered and are still suffering today also. In Florida today, the issues of restoring the Everglades is a very charged subject and it is a massive talking point also.

Geology and the Climate of the Everglades

Over 1million acres of land covers the park; 1,509,000 acres to be exact and the land goes through the counties of Collier, Dade and Monroe. Though, through South Florida where the park is located, the terrain is very flat. There are no underground springs that will feed the water into the Everglades unlike the springs found in the North part of Florida.

There is however a reservoir underground, the Aquifer that feeds the Everglades; this system is around 300 meters underneath the surface. The Everglades does have the ability to store water; this is because of the limestone under the exposed land which acts like a sponge. Though, most of the water coming to the Everglades usually will be in the form of rain; and a fresh water supply to the metropolitan area comes from the evaporated water from the glades themselves!

Everglades National Park Fauna
Green Heron in Everglades National Park

There are two seasons – wet and dry; and the dry season starts from around December through to around the month of April. The temperatures are going to range from 12 degrees Celsius to 25 degree Celsius; the humidity is very low also. The wet season lasts from May through to the month of November and the temperatures and humidity is high. The temperatures can soar to over 33 degrees Celsius. During most storms, there can be at least 10 inches of rain.

Activities in the Everglades

From December to March, this is the time for the park to receive most of its visitors. This is when the temperatures are going to be quite low and the mosquitoes are not in high volume also. There is the Tamiami Trail which is a very popular attraction of the park as well as the two story observation tower. There are also tram tours which are available during the busier parts of the season and the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Centre is a lovely place to stop also.

There are many great hiking trails to use and visitors can go canoeing also. The Gulf Coast visitor centre offers easy access to the Wilderness Waterway which is a trail especially for canoeing. The Everglades does have a lot of different trails to use and many use these when it comes to going for short walks. Visitors are going to be able to see the marsh, the wading birds, the bromeliads, the turtles and of course the alligators!

There are many different animals found in the park that are endangered. Many of these animals actually face a threat of extinction including the American crocodile. This is the only part in America in which these animals can be found and in the park they will be protected from being hunted; however, many are hurt when they cross the roads to try to reach the water.

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Denali National Park

Denali National Park and Preserve

 

The Denali National Park and Preserve can be found in Alaska. Inside the park, Mount McKinley which is the biggest or rather, the largest mountain in North America today. The park covers almost six million acres of land and of that land; over four million acres are owned by the government. Almost one million acres of land are of the national preserve and most federally owned also. However, in 1980, on the 2nd of December, over two million acres were established as the Denali Wilderness land.

There is a mix of habitats including the low elevations forest which home the deciduous taiga; and the tundra which are found at higher levels; and there is of course snow, glaciers and rocks found in the park also. Kahiltna Glacier is the longest glacier in the park today and there are almost half a million visitors that come here each year. Some of the most popular things to do in the park are:

Cross country skiing

Mountaineering

Snow machining

Back packing

Dog sledding

The Geology of the Park

The central region of the Alaska Range are actually found in the Denali Park; and along with the range, there are a lot of different glacial valleys and glaciers in the park. In the north region of the park, visitors can find the valleys of Foraker River, McKinley and Toklat also; and there is the Wyoming Hills and Kantishna Hills. In the park hunting is also prohibited and restricted.

Denali National Park facts
Mount Denali, Alaska

The Different Climates of Denali National Park

During the cold weather, usually from the winter months, almost 80 % of the bird population will migrate. These birds will return once the cold weather is over to raise their young; and a lot of mammals in the park will use the summer months in order to prepare for the colder months. During the summer months, the days will usually be damp but cool; and some of the temperatures can reach around 70 F. The weather however can be very unpredictable at times as there have been some hints of snowfall during the month of August!

To the north of the Alaskan Range, the climate is going to be very different. The moisture from the south of the mountain can’t reach the north and as a result, the water is blocked which helps to offer a dry climate. The temperatures of the mountain will vary however in the north; whereas in the south, the moisture in the air adds to cool summers and warm winters.

The park is home to at least four hundred and fifty different types of plant species found in Denali National Park including:

The Bluebell

The Goldenrod

The Fireweed

The Lupine

There are many different species of animals found in the park including:

The Snow Shoe Hares

The Grizzly Bears

The Bull Moose

The Black Bears

The Dall Sheep

Herds Of Caribou

The Gray Wolf

The Arctic Ground Squirrels

The Pikas

The Beavers

The Small Hoary Marmots

The Lynx

Wolverines

Martens

Foxes

The salmon, arctic grayling and trout fish can be found in the many waters throughout the park. Though the cold temperatures are going to allow the lakes to be fed by the glaciers; this prevents the fish from having a fast metabolism meaning they don’t reach their normal size quickly.

Denali National Park Information
Mt. Mckinley or Denali

Denali national park is very well known for the bird population; as many birds migrate here during spring and summer. Birds such as:

The Golden Eagle

The Wax Wings

The Pine Grosbeaks

The Wheatears

The Arctic Warblers

The Tundra Swan

The Ptarmigan

Hawks

Owls

The Gyrfalcon

The park’s rangers try to continuously ensure the wild life is kept wild life and keep the interaction between the animals and humans to a bare minimum. This is because the park rangers don’t want the animals to become dependent on humans to bring them food or become a food source for the animals also. Some of the wild bears do wear tracking collars so that the rangers can keep a close eye over their movements however these collars don’t hurt or harm the bears in any way.

No one is supposed to feed any of the bears or in fact any animal in the park – this is not allowed in any terms! The reason why is because the animal’s feeding habits can be effected by this and since these are wild life animals, the park doesn’t want to disturb their routines.

All visitors should view the animals from a safe distance; and the number of dangerous encounters with the bears and humans has been reduced also. This is because there have been better prevention methods added so that both the humans and bears are kept safe.

However in 2012, in the month of august, the Denali National Park had its first fatal bear attack. A lone hiker may have startled one grizzly bear which is thought to have been a very large and male bear. Apparently the hiker photographed the bear in which provoked the attack – this could have been due to the flash of the camera – and it was said the hiker made a mistake. He may have violated the park regulations about back country bear encounters – all permit holders should know these regulations before setting off.

At times, some of the park can be closed off; this is due to the activity of the wild life in that area. This could be dens set up by bears or wolves and it can be very dangerous which is why occasionally, an area or two will be closed to the public. However, the park is a beautiful location and it is a premier location for anyone who loves to see amazing wild life scenery. This is a fantastic area, certainly one of the most magnificent areas in Alaska and indeed the world.

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Dry Tortugas National Park

Coral Reefs and a Magic Sea Life

 

The Dry Tortugas National Park can be found just inside the United States of America – only 68 miles of Florida such as Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. The seven Dry Tortugas Islands and Fort Jefferson is preserved in the park as well as the west and the most isolated parts of the Florida Keys also.

The sea life is certainly one of the most amazing features of the Dry Tortugas National Park. What is more, the park is one of the best places to find amazing colourful coral reefs and tropical bird breeding grounds. However, there are many stories and legends of sunken treasures found from many ship wrecks in the oceans.

However, Fort Jefferson is going to be one of the best places to visit – in fact it is the centrepiece of the entire park. This is going to be a massive coastal fortress though the fortress is not finished areas also. Fort Jefferson is considered to be the biggest masonry structure in the entire western hemisphere; and the fortress has over sixteen million bricks also.

There is a lovely and very unique combination of historical artefacts, exotic and large undisturbed tropical ecosystem also. The Dry Tortugas National Park does attract more than eighty thousand visitors each and every year. However, to get to the park, visitors are going to need to use a boat or a seaplane as this is the only accessible way to get to the park.

Some of the activities that can be done inside the park are scuba diving, bird watching, snorkelling, camping, salt water fishing and picnicking also.

Dry Tortugas National Park facts
Dry Tortugas National Park, Aerial view

The Geography of the Dry Tortugas National Park

The seven major islands found in the park are:

Hospital Key

Logger Head Key

Garden Key

The Long Key

The Bush Key

The East Key

The Middle Key

The park is home to a tropical maritime climate; this means that there are rainy seasons which occur with the hurricane season. This starts from the month of May through to October and there is a drier season. This starts from the month of November through to the month of April; and most of this region is going to be effected by hurricanes which are frequent also. There are many tropical storms which occur in the area also.

Though, there might be tropical systems but it is going to be one of the driest regions throughout Florida also. There are more than 49 inches of rain that fall every year and the high temperatures are going to reach 32 degree Celsius. The low temperatures won’t be any less than 19 degrees Celsius also.

Throughout the year, the Dry Tortugas National Park is going to be a fantastic place to visit and the temperatures are going to be fairly good. At times it will be quite warm but it still will be a great place to visit no matter the weather. Of course during the hurricane season, the park is not going to be the best place to visit. The park does offer amazing scenery and opportunities to learn about the history.

The west and north parts of the par, which include the central island groups; are going to be almost 46 square miles of land designated area. This is a natural research area which was formed on the 19th of January in 2007. In this area, it means that there are no boats or vessels allowed to anchor and no fish or marine life can be taken from this area also.

For any fishing vessels which want to moor in the natural area, they must use the mooring docks or buoys which are designated in the area also. Only 54 % of the park is going to be opened for fishing purposes; however many disagree with this.

Many people have hoped to close the entire park region down for those who wish to fish. Many believed that the fish and marine life are being depleted here and are very concerned. Fishing however is a very popular past time for many locals and international visitors coming from abroad also.

Dry Tortugas National Park Information
Lighthouse – a part of Dry Tortugas National Park.

There is a huge 70 mile stretch of Key West in which the park sits in; and to get to the park, visitors are encouraged to use boats. However, using private boats to get to the park can be a little tricky at times because of the distance to the park. Instead, there are many catamaran, seaplanes and ferry crossings which are available to use to get from Key West to the Dry Tortugas National Park.

There are official ferry services to use as well as other transportation services to reach Dry Tortugas National Park. This includes the popular Yankee Freedom III Catamaran which many love to use to reach the park.

There are a lot of features to view in the park and the scenery is amazing also. This has become a famed area and certainly one in which many love to visit. More and more people are going to head to the Dry Tortugas National Park; and the park is certainly an amazing park.

Important Things To Remember

Dry Tortugas is a beautiful national park which is going to be opened all year round. However, there is a fee to get into the park. This is going to cost around $5 this is for adults; and it is going to be wise for visitors to plan for the trip to the park. To get to the park, it might mean a boat or a plane so wearing appropriate clothing is going to be very important.

Visitors will also need to note that they will need to bring everything they might need along with them for the visit to the park. There are actually no services available in the park so visitors need to prepare. However, visitors are going to be able to stay overnight in the park as camping is allowed.

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Death Valley National Park

An Interesting National Park

 

The Death Valley National Park is a beautiful national park found in two American States – Nevada and California. This is actually found just east of the Sierra Nevada and is near the Great Basin and Mojave deserts also. The park does have a lot of diverse desert environments of badlands, salt flats, valleys, sand dunes, mountains and canyons.

The Death Valley National Park is considered to be an international Biosphere Reserve and almost 95% of the entire park is a wilderness area. Throughout the entire country of America, this park is actually the driest and the hottest also. Though the park does play home to many different types of species of animals and plants; and most of these species have been able to adapt to the very harsh desert like environment found in the park. Some animals and plants that have adapted are the coyote, the creosote bush, bighorn Sheep and even the Death Valley Pupfish.

History of the Valley

Though, for many years thousands of years ago, there were many Native Americans that lived in groups in the park. It is said that the groups migrated from camp to camp during the winters and created camps that were especially for the winters. During the summer months, the settlers lived in the mountains on higher grounds.

However, the Death Valley received its name because of a group of people who were trying to find a short cut through to California’s gold fields. One of the party died in the Valley and since it was known as the Death Valley. Then not long after, there were many different boom towns that appeared during the 19th and 20th centuries; though these were to be short lived towns. They were set up there so that people to mine silver and gold, however there was no profit from these mining projects.

Death Valley National Park Facts
Great American road in Death Valley

Instead, borax was found and that was the only real profitable and long term ore to be found and successfully mined. However, the Valley wasn’t the most popular area of its time. Very few heard of it but it wasn’t until years later when the Valley really became popular. It was subject of many television series, radio programs, movies and even books; and that helped to create a tourism boom in the 1920s. This is when resorts were first built near the Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells.

The tourism boom did help to make the park more famous and maybe even contributed to it becoming a national monument. It was in 1933 when the Death Valley National Monument was announced. However, over the years the park expanded quite a bit and eventually it became a national park – though this wasn’t until 1994. So it is a very recent park, even though it has been known for so long.

Geology has played a huge part today when it comes to how the natural environment has shaped. The oldest of all rocks found in the Valley are metamorphosed and they are thought to be more than a billion years old which is truly amazing. It’s said that the valley is a graben; and that there is still so much unknown about every part of the Valley.

The Highlights of the Death Valley National Park

There are two major valleys; these are the Panamint Valley and the Death Valley. They are both amazing to visit and they are thought to have been formed only within a few million years or so. They are both bounded by the north south trending mountain ranges. The second lowest pint of the western hemisphere is in the park – the Badwater Basin on the Death Valley floor.

There is a lack of surface water in the park and it does contribute to the park being one of the driest locations in America. The temperatures of the Valley can reach up to 134 F. The daily temperatures can actually vary from a good 88 to 120 however it can vary and it has been known to vary throughout the years also. During the winter time, it can reach around 15 F.

Activities in the Death Valley National Park

Sightseeing is going to be one of the most popular activities in the park today. For those who wish to go sightseeing, they should use their vehicles; but they can also use bicycles, mountain bikes or go by foot. Hiking is certainly going to be a very popular activity in the park also. Though, visitors are able to use motorcycles to go through various parts of the park which can be a great option for anyone to see the various sights.

There are many good hiking trails to use and they range in length and difficulty also. Most of the back country roads and areas are going to be difficult to reach unless those going cross country hiking.

Death Valley California - Facts and information
Beautiful Sand Dune Formations in Death Valley California

There are 9 great designated campgrounds in the park; for anyone who wishes to camp out all night, they will need to obtain a camping permit which can be given at the Visitor Center. Though there are many different lodgings to choose from and one of the 3 star ranch style properties are going to be very special to visit and stay at also. There are also motels to choose from also for visitors.

Though, it is a very popular spot for star gazing also. The Death Valley National Park is going to have some of the very darkest skies during the night time. Even though, the park is a fairly remote location, the visibility at night is being threatened because of civilization.

Light pollution is a troublesome problem and it doesn’t help that Las Vegas is very close by. The north west of the park is going to have the darkest of skies. This is one of the reasons why the park is going to be one of the most popular areas to visit in America today also.

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Crater Lake National Park

The remains of Mount Mazama

 

The Crater Lake National Park is an amazing American National Park found in Oregon. This was first established in 1902; the park is the 5th oldest in America for national parks. The Crater Lake is the only national park that is found in the America State of Oregon and the park includes the remains of volcano which was destroyed, Mount Mazama; the caldera as well as hills and forests surround the park. It is a beautiful sight to view.

Crater Lake is in fact 1,943 feet or 592 meters deep. This is at its deepest point; and it does mean the lake is the deepest found in the United States of America today. In North America, this is the second deepest lake and the 9th in the world. When this lake is compared to others in the western hemisphere, Crater Lake is the deepest and it really is a stunning lake to view.

It is said that the depth of the lake is due to volcanic activity. In fact, this is a volcanic lake; and this is because of the deep caldera which was formed thousands of years ago when there was a violent eruption. The lake was also formed because of the collapse of Mount Mazama also; and with a moist climate it does help to create a very deep lake bed.

The caldera rim’s elevation ranges from seven thousand feet to eight thousand feet and there are almost 183, 225 acres of land of the park also. There are no rivers or streams that flow into or out of Crater Lake and all of the water that enters the lake will be lost due to subsurface seepage or evaporation. Though, one of the most notable features of the lake has to be its very striking blue hue.

Crater Lake National Park Facts
Panorama during the winter

The Geology of Crater Lake National Park

There is a large amount of volcanic activity in the area of Crater Lake and this is due to the fact that there is sub-duction coming from off the coast of Oregon. This is because the Juan De Fuca Tectonic Plate slips underneath the North American Tectonic Plate; compression and heat is generated from the movements of the tectonic plates and can create a mountain chain which is topped with many volcanoes – this creates the Cascade Range.

The larger volcanoes are called the High Cascades; and there are a lot of different volcanoes to view in the range also. Some of the other volcanoes are small and some can be large also. 400,000 years ago, Mount Mazama was formed and over time, the over lapping shield volcanoes produced lava flows and steadily grew the range until it reached 11,000 feet.

Over the years, more volcanic events took place and vents were created also; these cinder cones can erode easily and most of the early ones are gone completely. There are a good 13 or so young cinder cones that are in the park as well as 11 others which are outside of the borders of the park. They do still all have their unique and very distinctive cinder cone appearances to them also.

For many years, Mount Mazama was actually dormant but it did become active again. However, in 5700 BC, Mazama once more erupted, this time it was an awful and very large. During the eruption, Mazama collapsed in to itself and almost 3,500 feet was lost of its height; and a large caldera was formed. However, this created a massive and very beautiful lake which was filled within 740 years. This has a beautiful blue hue and that formed Crater Lake.

Ash from the eruption stretched far and wide especially in the east and North West of the area. It covered the area of what was of Yellowstone National Park; and it stretched to the areas of what is now British Columbia and Nevada also.

The Climate of Crater Lake National Park

Snow is found in the Crater Lake National Park but the levels is not that high and usually it is found at higher elevations. At lower elevations, snow can be rare at times. In the winter season – usually between September through until June, brings a good 98 days of considerable snow fall. There have been times, such as in 1937, 1951 and 1971 in which almost 37 inches of snow which have fallen in one day. In one month alone, there were more than 313 inches of snow produced that fell over the Crater Lake National Park region.

Crater Lake National Park Information
Beautiful view of crater lake

There are usually a good 10-15 feet of snow which is accumulated in the park during early spring. Through spring, the park roads; or at least most of these roads are going to be kept closed. There are times in which the snow can be seen during the summer and can be left there until the temperatures reach higher levels. In July and august, snow is rare and usually one great day follows another.

Usually the coldest month is going to be January which only sits at 2 degrees Celsius and at times the average temperatures can reach minus 8 degrees Celsius. The warmest month is going to be August which produces temperatures of 21 degrees Celsius; the low temperatures in the month are usually only around 4 degrees Celsius.

From 1962 and 1990, the lowest was minus 29 degrees Celsius and the highest was 32 degrees Celsius. The average rain fall is usually around 66 inches each year and usually in December, 11 inches of rain falls which makes it the wettest month in the entire year. There is an average snow fall of 533 inches each year; this usually covers the eight month period in which the worse of the weather appears.

At times Crater Lake can freeze over but this rarely happens today.

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Capitol Reef National Park

Located at south-central Utah

 

In south central Utah, Capitol Reef National Park is located and it is a United States of America National Park. This park is narrow but long and it covers almost 100 miles; and the Capitol Reef National Park was first established in 1971. There is almost 241,904 acres of land which preserves the park; and the park is going to be opened throughout the entire year. However, the months of May, June, July, August and September are going to be the months which are the most popular.

In the 1920’s, the park was called Wayne Wonderland, this was the name given by the locals Joseph S Hickman and Ephraim Pectol. However, the Capitol Reed National Park does have many amazing monoliths, buttes, canyons and ridges that are home in the canyon; and there is a 75 mile stretch of a long thrust called the Waterpocket Fold. This is a beautiful spine which comes from the Thousand Lake Mountain through to Lake Powell; and this is the most protected and preserved parks of the park also.

This area is near the Fremont River and it was named because of the line of cliffs and white domes from the Navajo Sandstone. This area does look like the American States Capitol building; and the easy road access was helped along with the construction of State Route 24 in 1962 which went through Fremont River Canyon.

There aren’t many paved roads which invade the beautiful landscape and in fact most of the park’s back country and trails are left undisturbed. There are many amazing sites to choose from including the arches and towers and the park does have a very desert feel to it. The scenic drives are going to allow the visitors to see some of the very scenery to choose from; and a lot of the scenery is going to be very close to the main high way also. There are beautiful trails and unpaved roads which stretch hundreds of miles.

Capitol Reef National Park facts
Capitol Reef National Park – Beautiful landscape

The History of the Mormons and Native American Settlers

Over the years, there were Mormons and Native American settlers that came to the capitol reef park. It is thought that the Native Americans lives near the Fremont River to the north of the National Park thousands of years ago. They were thought to grow crops of maize, lentils and squash which were stored in granaries – their grains were; and in the 13th century, the culture of the Native Americans changed. This may have been because of the very lengthy drought the area had and soon after the settlers from the Fremont Settlements and fields were left – abandoned really by all settlers.

In 1872, Alan H Thompson explored the area of the Waterpocket Fold; this was closely followed by Clarence Dutton who studied the area and its geology for many years. The Water pocket fold was not explored to a lengthy extent but it was an amazing area because it was very rugged as it is today. However, once the American Civil War was over, the Mormon missionaries moved to the area. This was in 1870’s and new settlers moved to the area.

The Mormon missionaries settled at the Fremont River Valley and established Fruita. During the early part of the 20th century, lime was extracted; this came from uranium and limestone. It was in 1904 when the first uranium mine was established in the area. There was a lot of hard work going in Fruita however, over the years, the land changed suddenly and the park was isolated once more.

It was in 1921 when the first effects to protect the land. There was money raised over time to help protect and restore parts of the park; and during the 30’s very little money was raised for the park. However in 1937, President Roosevelt signed a bill that created the Capitol Reef National Monument; this happened on the 2nd of August. The park covered 37,711 acres and when the depression rolled around the park suffered from funds.

Torrey in Utah is the closest town to Capitol Reef National Park as the town lies only 8 miles away from the park. It’s just west of the park, from the visitors centre and the town is quite small also. However, there are many great restaurants and motels to stay at for those who wish to visit the park or who want to stay overnight.

Capitol Reef National Park Information
Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park.

Inside the park, there is a very large camp ground which can be used by the visitors. Though for anyone who wishes to use this, it can be filled up very quickly, mostly by the early afternoon. This usually happens in the summer time and at most weekends also. Though, even if visitors don’t get into the camp grounds, the nearby town is still a great location to stay at.

Overnight camping inside the park is going to require a permit; visitors are going to be able to gain this permit from the rangers at the visitors centre. Don’t worry, its simple to get! There is however a very popular area in which many use, the Burr Trail Scenic Back way is great and this is going to allow visitors to gain access to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to the town of Boulder.

There orchards were planted by the Mormon pioneers who came to the area and today the orchards are still there at the park. However, they are maintained by the National Park Service; for a small fee, visitors can harvest their own fruits as there are many different fruits which grow in the orchards. Though this is quite fun to do and something that many love to try out.

There are many different activities in the park to choose from including horseback riding, a driving tour as well as hiking; however mountain biking is not allowed inside the park. However, there are options for those who wish to go mountain biking with a few trails which are just outside the park for visitors.

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Canyonlands National Park

Beautiful Canyons and Plateaus

 

The great American National Park, the Canyonlands, is found in Utah near the town of Moab to be exact. This is a very beautiful land area and the American park has some of the most amazing sights and scenery to view also. There is a fabulous, very unique and colourful landscape in the park which is preserved and protected also.

In the Canyonlands National Park, there are countless canyons to view which are tremendously beautiful and some of the landscape has eroded and sunk into these canyons also. However, there are many beautiful buttes and mesas to view which are found near the Green River and the Colorado River also.

The Canyonlands Park is divided into four sections – four districts really. Each district is very unique in its own way as they all have their very own characteristics and features that allow each of them to stand out dramatically from the others. There is the Needles region, the Island in the Sky region, the Maze region and the Rivers region also. There are two main river canyons in the park and they are also the biggest which are the Green River and the Colorado River also.

Recreational Activities In Canyon Lands National Park Today

Canyonlands are a very popular area and a favourite location for recreational purposes. There are at least 440,000 people who come to the park every year and it is a very popular location to visit also. Though the park is going to be great for many to use when it comes to those who loves to go hiking, or back packing; and it is also great for mountain bikers and four wheel drivers also. There are many amazing trails to use and many of them are going to have a lot of amazing sites to view.

Canyonlands National park Facts
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National park

The Colorado River and the Green River are both very popular for kayaking and for rafters to use. Though the Cataract Canyon does offer for great powerful white water rapids and this is a very popular spot to use also. Though, the Island in the Sky district is close to the town of Moab and that brings in most of the visitors in the park today. This is the most visited spot in Canyonlands; and then it is the Needles district and the rivers draw fewer visitors and finally the Maze. The Maze doesn’t bring in many visitors but it’s still a lovely spot to visit.

The Climate of Canyon Lands National Park

The two rivers, the Colorado and Green join in the park and this have created the divided within the park. The park is looked over by two co-operating weather stations. This has been in the works since 1965 and both stations work together to help gather all relevant weather news for the visitors. The National Weather Service records all official data about the desert climate; and it has been reported that there are less than ten inches of rainfall throughout the entire year.

There are also very dry summers which are also very warm; and during the winter times, the climate is rather cold and sometimes wet. There are occasions when there is snow seen falling in and around the park; however this doesn’t happen very often. The temperatures can vary however from highs of 2.8 degrees Celsius to minus 6.3 degrees Celsius; these temperatures were recorded in the month of January. In July the temperatures can reach anything from 32.6 degrees Celsius down to a low of 18.8 degrees Celsius.

On average, the temperatures in the park are going to hit a high of almost 32 degrees Celsius. These temperatures are going occur for over 40 days of the year. For 120-125 days of the year also, they will have temperatures of zero degrees Celsius. However, for the rest of the year, the weather can at times be mixed and varied.

The highest temperatures recorded are of 41 degrees Celsius; this occurred on the 15th of July in 2005. The lowest temperatures recorded were in 1989; and on the 6th of February, the temperatures dipped to minus 25 degrees Celsius also. There are at least 9 or 10 inches of rain that fall in the park ever year; and since there are limited amount of rain, it helps to contribute to the dry desert-like atmosphere the park has.

One of the wettest years to date in the park, was in 1984. There were at least 14 inches of rain that fell over the park however, over the years, the amount of rain fall has varied. In 1989, there were only 5 inches of rain; this makes it the driest year of the park also.

Canyonlands National park information
False Kiva in Canyonlands

Though, in the park, there is around 22 inches of snow that fall every year. In 1975, 47 inches of snow fell which makes it one of the largest snow falls in the history of the park. In 1978, almost 27 inches of snow fell and that was just in one month alone! Things can vary with the weather in the park.

The Paradox formation was created because of erosion and because the seawater trapped in the subsiding basin, causing an uplift mountain range. However, the area did fill with water once again when flooding occurred. However, the formation wasn’t damaged in any way.

Erosion increased as the Colorado River canyon reaches the salt beds and extended over the river canyon also. This helped to form such things as the Grabens though erosion rates have been very slow rates compared to other regions.

Canyonlands national park is certainly going to be one of the very best national parks today. The park is home to many beautiful sights and it is an amazing and lovely place to visit. Visitors are going to come to the park because of the endless scenery and the rich history of the park also. This is a beautiful place and anyone visiting the park would be lucky to do so.

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Bryce Canyon National Park

The Giant Amphitheatres

 

Located in Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is a lovely national Park. The American national park plays host to some amazing scenery including Bryce Canyon. However, despite it being named Bryce Canyon, there isn’t any canyon! Instead, Bryce Canyon is a huge collect of natural and very large amphitheatres. These can be found towards the Paunsaugunt Plateau, to the east of this and the national park is actually very distinctive.

The park’s geological structure is very unique to help identify the park; these structures are called hoodoos which have been formed because of the weather – particularly the frosty weather. Also, the stream erosion from the lake and river bed of sedimentary rocks has caused the national park to be distinctive and easy identified.

The rocks are a great orange, red and at times white in colour but they do look amazing for those who notice these. It was the Mormon pioneers in which took home at Bryce canyon and that was back in 1850; the park was named after the settler, Ebenezer Bryce. He created his homestead in 1874 and the park was to become a national monument in 1923 and five years later in 1928, the park was named a national park.

The area in which the park covers measures up to around thirty five thousand, eight hundred and thirty five acres of land; however, there is a problem with the park. It does not get as many visitors as what Zion National Park does which is very close to it. This might be because of the fact that the Bryce national park is somewhat remote.

Bryce Canyon National Park Facts
Bryce Canyon with snow in winter

The Climate and Geography of Bryce National Park

Bryce canyon national park can be found near Zion national park – 80 kilometres – and has a higher elevation from Zion also. This does mean that Bryce Canyon national park’s weather is cooler. The yearly temperatures of the park can vary from minus 13 degree Celsius in January to around 28 degrees Celsius to July. There have been some extreme temperatures noted, such as minus 30 degrees to around 36 degrees Celsius.

One of the coldest temperatures recorded in the park was in 1972, on December 10th. The temperatures reached minus 33 degrees Celsius. The highest temperature recorded in the park, was on the 14th of July 2002 and the temperature sat at 37 degrees Celsius.

Technically, Bryce canyon is not in fact a canyon because it wasn’t formed from erosion that came from a central stream.

The Different Activities

A lot of the visitors love to go sightseeing using the scenic drive option. This is going to allow the visitors to view many amazing viewpoints across the park – 13 to be exact. There are more than 8 marked hiking trails; most of them can be completed within a day some less than an hour. Though it will all depend on which trail is used as some stretch a small distance and some longer distances also.

There are 2 very good designated trails for those who wish to go overnight hiking. There is the Under the Rim Trail and the Riggs Spring Loop Trail also; but for those using these, a permit for back country camping is required.

There are over 10 miles of amazing marked skiing trails to choose from, though there are also unmarked trails to use near Fairyland, Paria so visitors have a huge choice to choose from. There are more than 20 miles of amazing connecting ski trails to use at Ruby’s Inn and Dixie National Forest. What is more, the air there is very clean and clear; and visitors will be able to see Kaibab Plateau and Navajo Mountain from Rainbow point. Sometimes, the Black Mesas in Arizona and even New Mexico can be seen when the air is clear!

Bryce has an amazing sky view during the day and at night! In fact, the park has one of the darkest skies in America today. That is why this is a very popular area for those who wish to star gaze! Over 7000 different stars can be seen just with the naked eye so it certainly will be an area in which is very popular today for many people and it can be a very romantic sight for couples also.

The park rangers actually hold a public star gazing event, several in fact, throughout the year and host programs during the evening. These programs are all about nocturnal animals, astronomy and of course night sky protection.

Bryce Canyon National Park Information
Bryce Canyon National Park Landscape

Every year there is a festival, the Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival, this is usually help in the month of June and this brings thousands of visits. This is an amazing festival however and Asteroid 49272 was named after the park also.

There are two different and popular camp grounds in Bryce canyon; they are the Sunset camp ground and the North camp ground. In the North camp ground, Loop A is available to use any time of the year as it never closes; and in the Sunset camp ground, the grounds are going to be open from the spring time, usually late spring, through until early autumn.

The Bryce Canyon Lodge is another ground lodging to stop over at. This has 114 rooms available and it is a lovely place to stay when it comes to camping over in the park. Though there are a lot of different options to choose from. One of the most popular activities for visitors is going to be to view the landscape at sunset because as the sun is setting, the views can be spectacular. Snapping a few photographs will be an amazing experience.

Bryce national park might seem to be fairly remote but the area is still one of the very best national parks today. It certainly is a lovely national park to visit and there is plenty of culture and history to view also. With skiing, hiking, camping and a lot of amazing scenery to view, this is a beautiful park to explore today for anyone.

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Biscayne National Park

An underwater paradise

 

The Biscayne National Park is located in South Florida, just south of Miami. Biscayne is an American National Park and this helps to protect and preserve the Biscayne Bay and of course the offshore barrier reefs also. In the entire country of America, some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving can be found here and almost 95% of the entire park is water!

A large extensive mangrove forest is the location of the shore of the Bay also. There are almost 172, 971 acres of land which make up the park. This can include Elliott Key which is the biggest island of Florida Keys also. At first, this was formed from a fossilized coral reef; and all of the islands which are north of the Biscayne National Park are transitional islands. This means that they are made up of sand and coral also.

There are 4 ecosystems within the park and these are all protected in the Biscayne National Park also. They are the Shallow Waters of Biscayne Bay, the Shoreline Mangrove Swamp; the offshore Florida Reef and the Coral Limestone Keys also. These are all very delicate ecosystems of the park and they are considered to be shoreline swamps of the mainland and islands also. They will help to provide a nursery for juvenile fish, crustaceans, molluscs and larval also.

The Bay waters does offer a home place for adult fish and some immature fish also; there are also soft corals, sea grass beds and sponges and at times are can be manatees found in the bay waters also. Though, the keys in the Biscayne Park are going to be covered in tropical vegetation; there are also the endangered palms and cacti that are found in the area. Though the beaches are going to be able to provide a great area for nesting grounds for all of the sea turtles which are endangered.

Biscayne national park Facts
Lighthouse at Boca Chita key in Biscayne national park

The waters and the off shore reefs are going to be the home place of over 200 species of pelagic birds, fish, hard corals and whales. There are at least 16 endangered species including the Small tooth sawfish, the Schaus swallow tail butterfly, the hawksbill turtles as well as the green sea turtles. There are also the manatees found in the park also. However, there is a very small population of American Alligators and American Crocodile; these groups are threatened species however.

It is said that more than 10 000 years ago was when the first people came to Biscayne Bay. The region was inhabited by the Glades culture before the bay was filled by rising sea levels. For a good 4000 years before the 16th century, the islands and the shoreline was occupied by the Tequesta people. This was before the Spanish took control of Florida into their possession; but a lot of the reefs claimed many Spanish ships until the 20th century.

There are at least 40 different wrecks that were documented that occurred in the Biscayne National Park area; however, there might have been more wrecks that went undocumented throughout the years also. It was very difficult to have a sustained agricultural because of the rock soil and hurricanes which occurred in the region during the 19th and 20th century periods. The islands were farmed but it was very difficult to rely on this as a stable income as the land was ravaged by the hurricanes.

Though, during the 20th century, the islands were secluded regions and they become a great destination for the rich and famous locals of Miami. Many Miami locals built second homes and beach properties here in the islands as well as little social clubs and amusement centres for all.

One of the most elaborate private retreats was the Boca Chita Key which had a mock lighthouse. There was also the Cocolobo Cay Club which has been owned numerous times by the Miami developer Carl G Fisher. The club was also owned by Bebe Reboxo, who was a friend of President Richard Nixon as well as the yachtsman Garfield Wood. Four of the Presidents of the U.S. visited the islands and the community of Stiltsville was created during the 1930s.

This occurred on the shores of the north part of Biscayne Bay; this was because of the amazing remoteness of the area to help promote alcohol and gambling during the Prohibition era. Though during 1959, Elliot Key was actually used for a training facility for those who were infiltrating Cuba – at the time, under Fidel Castro. Elliot Key was used by the CIA of America and even by some exile groups that came from Cuba.

Biscayne National Park Information
Biscayne National Park during sunset

At first, the Biscayne National Park was forgotten about because of the establishment of the Everglades National Park. The Everglades draw most of the attention and the establishment of another preserved area, was being argued increasingly. This meant that the Biscayne National Park was left undeveloped until the 1960’s; and this is why many people proposed to help the Keys reach a development the same way it was done in Miami Beach.

There were many plans to help build a deep water sea port; this was for bulk cargo and that there would be a petrochemical facility as well as a refinery being created also. These were to be on the mainland of the Biscayne Bay.

Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, there were 2 nuclear power plants created as well as 2 fossil fuelled power plants created on the shores of Biscayne. There was a huge backlash against this development; which in 1968, lead to the creation of the Biscayne National Monument.

During the 1980’s, the area was preserved and expanded and then it became the Biscayne National Park. The park is used mostly by boaters but the only part of the park which isn’t reached by boats is the visitor centre which is found on the mainland.

The park is one of the best areas to visit. Its special and the scenery are beautiful.

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Big Bend National Park

In Texas-Mexico border

 

Texas is the home of the great national park of the Big Bend National Park. Big Bend is the biggest protected area in America for its Chihuahua Desert topography as well as its ecology also. This is because there are more than 75 different species of mammals, almost 450 different species of birds, 56 different species of reptiles and 1200 species of plants.

The land of the park covers eight hundred thousand acres and is bigger than Rhode Island. Artefacts that were found were thought to be almost 9 thousand years old and that the landscape shows signs of life from the 19th century. The Rio Grande forms the international border between America and Mexico and along the 1000 mile border; the park covers almost 250 miles of that distance.

There are different constraints when it comes to the park service’s trying to service the park and enforce the various policies and rules; this is because of the international border that sits on the park. This does put a strain somewhat on the park.

However, there are different climates from hot and dry climates during late spring and the summer months; the temperatures here reach 38 degrees Celsius. The winter months are actually very mild in the park though on occasion there can be some sub freezing temperatures which can appear. Usually the temperatures are not going to be that bad and visitors can usually handle the heat found.

It is thought that Native Americans lived in the area thousands of years ago. It is thought that the Native America groups of the Comanche, the Chisos and the Mescalero’s lived in the area. However, over the years, Mexican, Anglo, Irish and Spanish settlers moved to the area and started to mine, farm and ranch the area also.

Big Bend National Park Facts
Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park

Even though the park has a harsh environment which is more desert like, there is a huge amount of numbers of different animals and plant species to find in the park. There are at least 60 different species of cactus and 3600 insect species and almost 600 species of vertebrates found in the park also. The park’s animals vary as well as the ecology because there are harsh dry areas and the mountains can be cooler.

A lot of the animal life can’t usually be seen in the day, they do stay away from the sun a lot especially in the desert areas. However, during the night time, the park comes to live and that is when the animals start to forage for food. There are at least 150 different sightings each year of the Cougars; in the park, there are only around 24 cougars.

However, there are a lot of different animals that live within the park including:

The Kangaroo Rats

The Black Tailed Jackrabbit

The Golden Eagle

The Greater Road Runner

The Coyote

The Many Amazing Mexican Black Bears

The Collared Peccary

What Visitors Will Find In the Park?

Big Bend National Park is certainly one of the biggest but least visited national parks today. For this park, it can be quite different for many visitors to reach the park because of the remoteness of the park. It is said that in recent years, the number of visitors who have came to the park was only around three hundred thousand each year which is a very small number compared to some of the numbers that reach the other national parks throughout America and the world.

Though Big Bend National Park is still very popular and many love to visit because of the amazing back packing trails it has as well as the hiking attractions also. One of the most used trails is Chimneys Trail and the Marufo Vega Trail is always a very popular trail to use also. However visitors love to visit the Grapevine Hills, the Mule Ears and the Santa Elena Canyon – the Mule Ears are especially popular as they are two very large rock towers found right in the centre of the desert! Though, there are also some back packing guide services, professional services which are offered for those looking to take a trip to the park.

Professional tour services operate for those who wish to take a tour of the river which is a very popular part of the park. For visitors who have their own boat, they can use it; if they have a personal boat they can use it on the river but there is a permit required, the free river float permit will be needed. However, for those who are using the river to leave and reenter the country, identification is required. This can be a passport and the Department of Homeland Security set up this new rule from 2009.

Big Bend National Park Information
Big Bend National Park Landscape

A lot of the tourists use the park to cross the Rio Grande and head into Mexico and visit the village of Boquillas. However, since 2002, the Department of Homeland Security closed this border crossing. Recently in April of 2013, the border crossing was reopened by the government as a Class B Port of Entry between America and Mexico – this is now an official port but it is only opened at certain times. This is from Wednesday to Sunday from the times of 9 in the morning to 6 in the evening.

However, many tourists like to visit here to bird watch. Bird watching is very popular as there are more than 450 species found in the park today alone. A lot of different birds fly to the park during their migration seasons so it can be a very popular time for visitors to come to view these birds.

The Big Bend National Park is a great location, even though the park isn’t one of the most visited places. However, it’s a beautiful location to meet and there are so many different places to explore also. The numbers might be small but the park is huge and the visitors love the park.

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