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Redwood National & State Parks

Stage of great Hollywood films

Redwood National & State Parks is located in California in America. This was first established in 1968 and the redwood forest covers almost 2 million acres along the Californian coast. The area was home to Native Americans for many years and there were many miners who came during the gold rush as well as lumbermen brought to the area also.

The History of Redwood

There are many Native Americans that live in the park today and it is thought that the region was inhabited first thousands of years ago. However, modern day Native groups of Chilula, Yurok, Karok, Wiyot and Tolowa live in the area today and they have ties to the region from thousands of years ago. The Yurok group was thought to have been great in numbers during 1852; as there were almost 55 different villages of almost 2,500 people living throughout the villages.

The Americans used the redwood trees to build things such as houses, boats, small villages and many more things for their people; and how the villages were constructed was certainly amazing. They used leather strapping and cloth to keep the wood together and cover them to create warmth.

However during the years, there were a lot of different people coming into the region and going and the land was greatly disturbed over the years also. In 1918, Save-the-Redwoods-league was created and this helped to protect and preserve the land.

Redwood National Park Information
Fern canyon

The headquarters of the park is found in California in Crescent City but there is a lack of money. This means that improvements to the park can be difficult to make and that timber companies have helped to plant a lot of trees in which have been removed. This has helped to create more trees and replenish the area also with non native trees.

However, exotic species have been invading the coastline areas such as the coastal prairie and dunes also. This was because of the forest fires that broke out throughout the years in the area; but today there is a chance for controlled burning so that the land can return back to the original state it was once. There were many parts of the land that were re-grown and replenished over the years.

There are some front country camp sites available with the state parks but for the federal parts of the park, they don’t. Hiking is going to be the only way to actually get to the back country camp sites. The camp grounds are at Mill Creek and the Jedediah Smith grounds also.

Many visitors do love to go back country camping; however, this is only allowed for those with permits. What is more, the camping sites are only allowed in certain areas, designated areas. There is a limitation over how many night people can stay camping; this is 5 consecutive night and overall 15 nights in one year. It is going to be very important for visitors to remember that there are bears in the park and that is why the park asks for proper food storage to avoid any encounters with these animals. All backpackers and hikers must remove all of the garbage they have before they leave to prevent litter in the park.

There are around 200 miles of trails throughout the park; however, when the rainy seasons start, some of the footbridges are removed. This is because these bridges which are temporary structures can be damaged by the high streams. All through the year however, the trails are wet and that does mean the hikers will be to be very well prepared. They need to be prepared for the weather as well as proper attire.

Attractions

Mountain biking and horseback riding are two very popular activities within the park. However, both activities are allowed on certain trails and it will be very important to stick to these roads also. Though, visitors can choose to go kayaking if they so wish as there is the seacoast to use and there are of course streams and rivers in which they can use also if they so wish.

Most love to go canoeing and kayaking and use the Smith River often and it is the biggest river that isn’t dammed in the State of California today. Though, fishing is very popular in the park also as many try to catch steelhead fish and salmon; and many try to fish for the anadromous, a high prized fish from the rainbow trout family.

Redwood National Park located in California
Coastline area in Redwood / Photo courtesy of National Park Service

This fish is at least 16 inches long but some say it’s longer! What is more, the best places to fish are the Klamath River and the Smith River also. However, for those who wish to fish, they will need to acquire a sport fishing license from the California government in order to fish in the streams or river. Hunting is strictly prohibited in the area!

There are five visitors’ centers and visitors can go on guided nature walks and finding out some information about the park itself. The camp grounds are going to be amazing to stay at also because the roaring camp fires and talks are amazing to visit. The picnic areas are really going to be amazing to stop off at when visitors head here.

The Redwood National Park has however also played host to movie makers. The park has been the filming locations of a lot of films including scenes from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of The Jedi. Clearly, it does offer a lot of beauty spots and the entire park is magnificent itself.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Walking with Dinosaurs used the park’s amazing scenery to help during filming and it is just a spectacular place to visit. The Redwood National Park is certainly a lovely place, one in which millions of visitors head to every year. However, it is a tremendous location to visit and it offer so much also.

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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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