A national park is a site reserved for the sake of conservation. It is often used for preservation of rare or threatened wildlife, plants or natural treasures. The definition or the criteria of a national park may vary from country to country. But the rationale behind the creation of a national park remains almost the same; the preservation of the wild nature in the pristine form for the posterity. Among the Things to do in America, National Park are definetely worth spending some time visiting them.
The national park is usually open to the tourists and it often provides recreational activities for the visitors; camping, hiking, guided and unguided trips, snow sports, rafting to name some of the activities. Some parks even provide classes on giving guidance on and teaching the importance of the conservation of nature.
There are a lot of national parks available in the United States presently. Some important and famous national parks include Yosemite national park in California, Grand Canyon national park in Arizona, Glacier national park in Montana, Yellowstone national park in Wyoming, Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina/Tennessee, Everglades in Florida, Grand Teton national park in Wyoming and Redwood national park in California.
The national park in the USA needs a pass from the National Park Services. This pass comes at an affordable price and it covers entrance fees, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle.
Yosemite National Park
The Yosemite national park, located across the Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in the northern California, is a famous tourist attraction. Situated in the central Sierra Nevada region in the state of California, it approximately covers an area of 3026 sq km. This national park is adjacent to Ansel Adams wilderness towards the southwest, Hoover wilderness towards the north-east and Emigrant wilderness in the north. 5 million visitors come to the Yosemite national park each year to experience the scenic beauties.
Geological studies show that this area is a part of the Sierra Nevada batholith. This area is mostly composed of granitic rocks. About 10 million years ago the Sierra Nevada region started to be uplifted. Later the streams and the glaciers in this area eroded and shaped the landscape.
There are two primary rivers in this area: the Merced River and the Tuolumne River. Yosemite National Park is famous for its waterfalls. Yosemite waterfall is the highest waterfall in the United States. Some other falls include Ribbon falls and the scenic Bridalveil fall.
The leisure activities include hiking, camping, automobile trips, mountain climbing and rock climbing, skiing and snowshoeing in the winter months etc.
Yellowstone National Park
The Yellowstone national park, situated in the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, is the United State’s first ever designated national park and it is considered to also be the world’s first. The park, covering almost an area of 8983 sq km, is bounded nearly from all sides by the middle Rocky Mountains. This park is famous among the tourists for its scenic beauties, a wide variety of wildlife and especially for its geothermal features. Millions of enthusiasts visit this national park each year.
Archaeologists believe that this region was dwelled in by aboriginal tribes for more than 11,000 years. They used to call this land Mi tsi a-da-zi (“Rock Yellow River”) most likely due to the color of the rocks in the canyons. French hunters named it Roche Jaune.
The Yellowstone area used to be volcanically very active. In fact, the Yellowstone Lake resides in the caldera of a volcano. It is believed that these volcanic activities had many major climatic effects and were responsible for the extinction of many species.
The Yellowstone national park is famous for its geothermal activities. There are more than 1,000 geysers in the park area according to a study. The world’s half of the geysers reside in the Yellowstone region. The Old Faithful geyser is very famous among the visitors; it usually erupts in every 91 minutes.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon national park is situated in the Coconino county and the Mohave county in the state of Arizona. The park’s center of attraction, the Grand Canyon, is a famous gorge in the Colorado River and is one the seven natural wonders on earth. The park, covering an area over 4900 sq km, was enlisted as a world heritage site in 1979 by the UNESCO. The park became the second busiest national park in 2016 after it got over 6 million of visitors.
The Grand Canyon is believed to be a part of the uplifted Colorado plateau. Later the Colorado River and its tributary streams carved the plateau and gave Grand Canyon its present form. The canyon is composed of 2 parts: the northern rim and the southern rim. The southern rim is lower than the northern rim and the north rim is on average 1,000 feet higher than the southern rim.
The activities here include automobile trips and guided tours, hiking, camping, mule ride toward the base of the canyon and helicopter rides.
Redwood National Park
The Redwood national forest and the adjacent state parks such as Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park constitute the greater Redwood national and state parks which preserve the remaining Redwood forest. The park is situated in the Del Norte and the Humboldt counties in the northern California. The parks, taken together, cover up 560 km2.
The park region is situated at the meeting point of three tectonic plates; the North American plate, the pacific plate and the Gorda plate. As a result, this area is highly seismically active.
As the name suggests this park is mostly filled with coast redwood. Most of these massive coastal redwoods were cut down. To save the plants and the natural treasures this region was designated as a national park. Other plants that are common include Coast Douglas-fir, Sitka spruce, Pacific madrone, bigleaf maple and California laurel. Over 40 species of mammals found here; black bear, beaver, coyote, river otter, elk, Steller sea lion, harbor seal, California sea lion to name some of them.
Glacier National Park
The Glacier national park is situated in Montana on the United States-Canada border encompassing around 4,000 km2. This park is home to more than 1,000 different species of plants and more than 100 different animals. Glacier national park belongs to the much bigger ‘Crown of the Continent’ ecosystem. It is adjacent to the Waterton lake national park in the Canada and they are called together the Waterton-Glacier international peace park. It was enlisted as a world heritage site in 1995.
About 170 million years ago the Lewis overthrust was shifted eastward over the rock strata. As a result of the Lewis overthrust, made of relatively older Proterozoic minerals aging 1.4 to 1.2 million years, shifted almost 50 km and covered up the relatively newer Cretaceous period rocks.
The forests are mostly filled with Douglas fir, Western larch, Engelmann spruce, red cedar, and hemlock. This region constitutes a fine ecosystem around here. Mammals include grizzly bear, mountain goat, moose, wolverine, lynx etc. 100s of different birds, dozens of fishes and some reptiles are common here.
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