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Joshua Tree National Park

Desert Habitat

 

The Joshua Tree National Park can be found in California – the south east of California. It wasn’t until 1994 when Joshua Tree was named an American National Park; this was when the California Desert Protection Act was formed. The reason why the park is named the Joshua Tree park is because of the trees by the same name which are native to the park.

There is a huge land area of almost 790, 000 – 790,640 acres which is just around the same size of the State of Rhode Island – in fact, it’s just a little bigger. Though, there is a large part of the park which is exclusively wilderness. It is thought that the rocks throughout the park, were formed around 100 million years ago; this is because of the magma beneath the surface was cooled.

Activities In the Park

There are 9 camp grounds in the park including:

The Indian Cove

The Black Rock Campground

The Cottonwood Campground

For those who are going to want to use any of the three camp grounds from above, they are going to have running water and flushable toilets. However, there might be a fee charged a night for those who are using the camping area. Most of the other camp grounds are based on a first come first service policy; and back country camping is something which is very popular today. There are some regulations when it comes to using the grounds however so visitors need to check them before using the trails. The park is in fact one of the worst areas for air quality in America today.

Visitors can also go hiking in the park. There are many good hiking trails to choose from and there are longer and shorter trails to choose from; a trail through the Hidden Valley is short, only 1 mile. However this is going to offer visitors a great opportunity to see the amazing scenery of the park. There is a lookout point at Keys View which faces the south area of the park; here visitors can see the amazing views of Salton Sea and Coachella Valley also.

Joshua Tree National park Facts
Joshua Tree

Bird Life and Astronomy

In the park today, there are almost 250 different types of species found. This is going to include the ever popular birds including:

The Greater Roadrunner

The Mockingbirds

The Cactus Wren

The Verdin

The Gambel’s Quail

The Le Conte’s Thrasher

Some species however only spend a short amount of time in the park; some spend 2 seasons there before moving on. However, for anyone who wishes to find animals or sight them, will be able to visit the Smith Water Canyon or the fan palm oases. For those who wish to see birds, the Lost Horse Valley and the Queen Valley are both very popular areas to visit.

However, the park is very popular when it comes to astronomy and for star gazing also. Since the park is very well known for the dark skies which are usually found within the park, it is going to bring in many who want to explore the night’s sky. Though, the skies are really very much undisturbed by the air pollution found in California. The park has dry desert type air and does have a good stable atmosphere; this helps to create great astronomy conditions for observing the night skies.

The Wildlife in the Park

Most of the animals actually create a home in the Joshua Tree including the lizards and birds; and on some occasion, the grounded squirrels. Though, these animals are still going to be largely seen throughout the day. The desert animals are going to be seen at night and love to roam; these animals including:

The Bighorn Sheep

Snakes

The Black Tailed Jack Rabbits

Coyotes

Kangaroo Rats

For the animals that live in and around the Joshua Trees, they do have ways to adapt. They have their very own special ways to adapt when it comes to having limited water supplies as well as some of the high summer temperatures. Most of the smaller mammals and the reptiles in the park usually find there is a huge heat coming from the underground but these animals do take refuge away from the heat amongst the trees.

The desert animals are going to use what body water supplies better than what a human can. Most reptiles are going to be able to adapt with little water; and birds are going to be able to fly to find water supplies. During the winter, a lot of the smaller insects and rodents can go in to hibernation; and for the birds, they can soar during the winter time.

Barker Dam is one of the best places to find the wild life; and the Barker Dam is actually a very short hike to the Hidden Valley. For visitors they will be able to see the Mule Deers and Desert Bighorn sheep passing through there to stop for water. There are tours of the area available at times for the visitors.

Joshua National Park Facts and information
Tourist in Joshua National Park

There are different types of wild life found in the park including:

The Red Spotted Toad

The California Tree Frog

The Yucca Moth

The Road Runner

The Gambel’s Quail

The Tarantula

Golden Eagles

The Wilderness Of The Park

With the park’s 789,745 acres of land, almost 430,000 acres are going to be designated as wilderness parts. The land is maintained by the NPS – the National Park Service. For any visitor who wishes to stay overnight to camp at the camp grounds, it will mean they need to register with the NPS. There cannot be any open camp fires used or stoves used other and there is a leave no trace element to the park. No bicycles are allowed in the park but horses are when there is a permit.

The park is certainly going to be a great area to visit 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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