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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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Mount Rainier Volcano

 

If you were ever to visit or move to Seattle you would notice the tallest peak in the Cascade Mountains and that is Mount Rainier. Though it looks like a very tall mountain it is actually an active volcano. The Mount Rainier Volcano is the 21st in the list of the most prominent mountains in the world and it stands at 13,211 feet from its low point. It is also the most prominent mountain found in the lower continental United States. From peak of the Mount Rainier Volcano you can actually see another famous volcano in the area which is Mount St. Helens and you can also get a good look at Mount Adams, Glacier Peak, Mount Baker and Mount Hood.

Activity

The Mount Rainier Volcano is what is known as a giant stratovolcano and though it looks quiet it is still considered an active volcano. The last eruption from Mount Rainier took place in 1894 and it has been determined that the volcano has erupted at least a dozen times in 2,600 years. Its largest eruption took place close to 2,200 years ago. Due to the fact that the Mount Rainier Volcano is considered an active volcano there are several smaller high frequency tremors in the area. A lot of times the tremors take place every day. Each month there is a possibility of as many as five quakes taking place at the summit. According to scientists studying the mountain those earthquakes take place due to fluids which circulate inside Mount Rainier.

Craters

The Mount Rainier Volcano has two volcanic craters that overlap at the summit. Each one of these craters is over 1,000 feet around. There is also a small crater lake that can be found and that is 130 feet long and it has a 16 foot depth. This lake is the highest one in the continent when it comes to crater lakes. However, that lake is underneath 100 feet of ice and you can only reach it by going through a network of caves made of ice.

Dangers

The main danger that the Mount Rainier Volcano presents is that it is very close to a highly populated area. The Seattle-Tacoma region could be in grave danger should the volcano erupt again. At the moment scientists do not believe that there will be an eruption anytime soon but that could change as after all it is an active volcano. The population from both Seattle and Tacoma, in addition to the surrounding areas, adds up to close to 3.2 million people and evacuation would present challenges. Another problem is that the volcano is covered with ice. Because of that the USGS (US Geological Survey) has called Mount Rainier “potentially the most dangerous” volcano in the mainland US.

If an eruption took place at the Mount Rainier Volcano the ice on top could create lahars which are a volcanic mudflow that happens when rocks, lava and gas melt ice and create superheated slurry. When an eruption took place 5,600 years ago two of these giant lahars made their way and reached Puget Sound which pushed out the shoreline several miles. That possible danger is what makes Mount Rainier one of only two Decade volcanoes in the US.

Predictions

One of the best tools which geologists and other scientists have to predict volcanic activity is historic data. Unfortunately the Mount Rainier Volcano has not been very predictable. In fact, it could be called erratic for at least 1,000 years. Even so there are few volcanoes in the United States that are more monitored than Mount Rainier. The monitoring of Mount Rainier is done by the United States Geological Survey together with the University of Washington. Any potential hazards from the volcano’s activity will be assessed by those two entities. There are also plans to minimize any population growth in the area wherever it is possible, especially within the hazard zones. A response plan has been developed but due to the vast amount of people in the area it can be hard to put in place.

Facts About Mount Rainier

The name of the Mount Rainier Volcano was given by George Vancouver and it was in honor of Admiral Peter Rainier. There is a Native American name for Mount Rainier and that is Tahoma which means “the mountain that was God.” The peak of the mountain was not reached until August of 1870 by Hazard Stevens and by P. B. Van Trump. The area was designated a National Park in 1899 and every year 2 million people visit the area. Though it looks very close to Seattle it is actually located 87 miles away. Tacoma is a bit closer at only 65 miles and several smaller towns are even closer. Though the volcano is not considered very active at the moment other eruptions in other areas in the world are giving scientists clues about what to expect from Mount Rainier.

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