Posts Tagged ‘national park’
“National parks are America’s largest classrooms.”–National Park Service
A visit to a national park, actual or virtual, is a valuable learning experience. The state of Utah offers abundant learning opportunities as home to five national parks: Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. This week marks the 45th anniversary of Capitol Reef being established as a national park. On Aug. 2, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Capitol Reef a national monument. President Richard M. Nixon signed legislation establishing Capitol Reef as a national park on Dec. 18, 1971. I would like to commemorate Capitol Reef’s anniversary by sharing some interesting facts about this beautiful park.
Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure located in south-central Utah. Capitol Reef received its name because early settlers observed that the white domes of Navajo Sandstone resembled the dome of the U.S. Capitol building. Prospectors in the area called Waterpocket Fold, a ridge in the earth’s crust, a reef because it was a difficult barrier to transportation. The park encompasses 241,904 acres. It is the state’s newest and least-visited national park, attracting almost 750,000 visitors every year.
I recently got to explore this often overlooked park, and I can tell you that if you take the time to visit this wondrous place, you won’t be disappointed. The park contains colorful canyons, red sandstone cliffs, ancient Fremont petroglyphs, diverse wildlife, the historic Fruita orchards, and amazing geological features. Capitol Reef National Park is defined by the Waterpocket Fold. The classic monocline extends for nearly 100 miles. The majestic park’s prominent landmarks include Cassidy Arch, Chimney Rock, Hickman Bridge, Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Moon, and my personal favorite, the Castle.
I was impressed by Capitol Reef’s geologic features, but I was equally impressed with the park’s unique history. People have lived in the area of Capitol Reef for thousands of years. The earliest inhabitants of the Capitol Reef area were archaic hunters and gatherers, the Fremont people, and Mormon pioneers who settled in the area that is now known as the Fruita Rural Historic District.
As much as I enjoyed learning about the park’s history and seeing the spectacular scenery, because I am an animal lover, the highlight of my visit was spotting mule deer. Capitol Reef is home to 71 mammal species, 239 bird species, 15 reptiles, 13 native fish species, and 5 amphibians.
I am so grateful that 45 years ago, Capitol Reef was reclassified as a national park. Since there are so many gorgeous destinations to visit in Utah, I have a feeling that if Capitol Reef had remained a monument, there is a chance I would have missed out on this remarkable place.
The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The National Park Service has been taking care of America’s national parks since 1916. The centennial will commemorate the achievements of the National Park Service over the past 100 years and kick off another century of preservation, conservation, and enjoyment of the nation’s beautiful national parks. In honor of the National Park Service’s centennial, I would like to share some interesting facts about the National Park Service and the National Park System that you and your students may not know.
1. The National Park Service was established on August 25, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” into law. The National Park Service was created 44 years after Yellowstone became the country’s first national park. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act on March 1, 1872.
2. There are approximately 22,000 permanent, temporary, and seasonal workers employed by the National Park Service. 221,000 volunteers donate their time to the National Park Service.
3. The National Park System includes “412 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.” The areas include 59 national parks, 83 national monuments, 78 national historic sites, 50 national historical parks, 30 national memorials, 19 national preserves, 18 national recreation areas, 11 national battlefields, 9 national military parks, 10 national seashores, and 4 national lakeshores.
4. The largest national park in the United States is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska at 13.2 million acres. The country’s smallest national park is Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas at 5,500 acres.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited national park in 2015 with 10,712,674 recreational visits, followed by Grand Canyon National Park (5,520,736), Rocky Mountain National Park (4,155,916), Yosemite National Park (4,150,217), Yellowstone National Park (4,097,710), Zion National Park (3,648,846), Olympic National Park (3,263,761), Grand Teton National Park (3,149,921), Acadia National Park (2,811,184), and Glacier National Park (2,366,056 ).
I feel lucky to have traveled to six of the country’s ten most visited national parks. I will be celebrating the National Park Service’s birthday by visiting three of Utah’s national parks in the fall. You can join in the National Park Service’s celebration by visiting a national park in your state. The National Park Service is offering free admission to all sites from August 25th through August 28th to mark the occasion.
Are you going to visit a national park to help the National Park Service celebrate its birthday? How many national parks have you visited? What is your favorite national park? Comment below or tweet us using #ProQuest.
June is recognized as Great Outdoors Month. In 1998, President Clinton established Great Outdoors Week to celebrate America’s natural treasures. The week-long celebration was expanded by President George W. Bush in 2004 when he issued the first Presidential Proclamation designating the entire month of June as Great Outdoors Month. This recognition emphasizes the benefits of outdoor recreation and encourages Americans to enjoy our magnificent public lands and waterways. The annual tradition has continued under the Obama administration. In 2015, proclamations were issued by all 50 governors declaring June as Great Outdoors Month.
Exciting events occurring during Great Outdoors Month include National Trails Day, National Fishing & Boating Week, National Get Outdoors Day, National Marina Day, and the Great American Campout. Great Outdoors Month reminds people to take the time to appreciate the natural beauty around us. If you are interested in getting outside and reconnecting with nature, here are some ways to celebrate Great Outdoors Month.
Plan a camping trip, take a hike, go rock climbing and horseback riding. Watch wildlife. You don’t have to go far to enjoy the great outdoors. Walk or jog in a neighborhood park. Ride a bicycle. Have a picnic or barbecue in your own backyard. Plant a garden. If you like the water, beaches, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls are great places for outdoor activities. Go boating, fishing, swimming, diving, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. Visit a national or state park.
I love exploring national parks. I’ve visited some of the most popular ones, including the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. National parks offer visitors stunning landscapes, breathtaking views, and an opportunity to view wildlife in their natural habitat. National parks are amazing and I hope someday I’ll be able to visit all of them, but my favorite park is not a national park, it’s a state park on the central coast of California.
Often overshadowed by national parks, I believe state parks are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a perfect example. Point Lobos may not get as much attention as Yosemite, but in my opinion, it is the most beautiful place in the world. Many beautiful state parks—like Point Lobos are exceptional for hiking, photography, sightseeing, and observing wildlife.
eLibrary contains many resources related to national and state parks. If you want to learn more about America’s national parks, click here. If you want to find more information about state parks, perform a basic search in eLibrary by typing in the name of a state followed by parks. For example, I’m planning a trip to Utah and I want to know more about Utah’s state parks. I type in Utah parks and I get this Research Topic page in the results list Utah Forests & Parks.