Posts Tagged ‘National parks’
“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.
Today marks the 144th birthday of the creation of the first national park in the world, Yellowstone National Park. Most people who have been to Yellowstone, and even some who haven’t, can tell you a lot of fast facts about the park, such as it having the largest concentration of geysers in the world, or that it has one of the largest supervolcanoes on earth lying just underneath its surface. I have been visiting the Yellowstone area on and off for the past 25 years and there’s always something new that I didn’t know or that I haven’t seen. So, in this blog, instead of going over the same commonly known facts about Yellowstone, I thought I’d share with you some commonly known facts sprinkled with some lesser known facts.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is big. The ecosystem is made up of Yellowstone National Park, five surrounding national forests in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, the National Elk Refuge, and another national park (Grand Teton National Park) 50 miles to the south of Yellowstone, all totaling over 19 million acres. Yellowstone National Park itself is over 2,200,000 acres and over 3,400 square miles.
With an area this size, it would be easy to get lost, especially in the year 1870 when there were no roads. That year, two years before Yellowstone became a national park, Truman C. Everts joined the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition, the second official government expedition into the Yellowstone area. One day he became separated and lost from the party in a snowstorm inside a dense forest. The members of the expedition searched and waited for him for a week to show up, but he never did. When the expedition returned from their trip they put out a $600 reward for his return, but feared the worst. Miraculously, he was eventually found and near death, weighing a mere 55 pounds. He had wandered aimlessly, backtracking in circles for 37 days in the region near the head of Yellowstone Lake, surviving mostly on berries and grasses. After Yellowstone became a park in 1876, a mountain in the Thorofare area of the park was named after Everts. He lived to be 75 and fathered one child.
Today, the Thorofare area of Yellowstone is the most remote place in all of the continental United States. In the heart of the Thorofare area it is 32 miles to the nearest road in any direction. Inside the park on the Yellowstone River, about 15 miles downstream from the park’s southern border with the Bridger-Teton National Forest, a small stream enters the river on its western shore called Atlantic Creek. Atlantic Creek itself begins high on the continental divide at Two Ocean Pass in an area called The Parting of the Waters, so named because Atlantic Creek splits off as one of two forks of North Two Ocean Creek. It flows down the east side of the continental divide from the pass for about 10 miles into the Yellowstone River where its waters flow into Yellowstone Lake, out of the park, into the Missouri River in northeast Montana, and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean via the Gulf of Mexico. Another stream at The Parting of Waters, the Pacific Creek, is the other fork of North Two Ocean Creek. Its waters makes its way down the western side of the continental divide, into the Snake River, and eventually to the Pacific Ocean.
The Yellowstone River winds its way north through the Thorofare area and eventually empties its water into the southeast arm of Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone Lake is the largest high-altitude lake (around 7,730 feet) in the United States. Along a small patch of shore on the Yellowstone Lake lives the Yellowstone sand verbena, a small perennial herbaceous plant. The Yellowstone sand verbena exists nowhere else in the world and occupies less than 1.5 acres of land along the lakeshore. Most typical sand verbena exists in desert locations like the southwest United States and on the Pacific Coast. The Yellowstone sand verbena’s unusual presence along Yellowstone Lake at 7,700 feet suggests that geothermal features in the area provide just enough warmth during Yellowstone’s harsh winter, along with its typically warm summer, to survive and reproduce.
Yellowstone Lake is also home to the largest population of cutthroat trout in North America. As the waters of Yellowstone River and the hundreds of other tributaries that feed into Yellowstone Lake make their way north out of the lake, it forms an even larger river, passing under Fishing Bridge. During the Spring, hundreds of tourists each day will stop on the bridge and watch school after school of Yellowstone cutthroat trout feed and swim against the current under the bridge and into the lake making their way toward the lake’s tributaries to spawn.
For the past 25 years, this fish has been threatened by lake trout, a non-native species that was surreptitiously introduced into Yellowstone Lake some time in 1970s or 80s. Lake trout grow twice as large as cutthroat and they feed on the smaller trout. Cutthroat populations have been decimated because of this. Many animal species in Yellowstone have historically depended on Yellowstone cutthroat as a food source, including grizzly bear and birds of prey, like eagles and osprey. For the past 22 years the park service has been battling the lake trout to eradicate them from the lake. It is only recently that they have gotten a leg up on this devastating species.
One of the most remarkable attractions in Yellowstone is the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River at the head of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. At 308 feet, it is formidable sight. What you might not know is that, until the year 2000, there were over 350 undocumented and unmapped waterfalls in Yellowstone. Several exceed 150 feet, with one over 300 feet, about the height of the Lower Falls. Of course, these waterfalls are inaccessible to the average hiker. To see most of these waterfalls you must be willing to hike off trail with a good map and compass, and with no shortage of stamina.
I’d be remiss not to mention the hydrothermal features of Yellowstone. Yellowstone has the largest concentration of geysers and hydrothermal features in the world. Most people are familiar with Old Faithful, and may think that it is the tallest erupting geyser. In fact, Steamboat geyser in Norris Geyser Basin is the tallest, erupting to 300 feet, two to three times that of Old Faithful. Good luck on seeing a major eruption of this geyser, though. Major eruptions of Steamboat are irregular: its history shows that it may erupt every four days, or every 50 years. The last major eruption was on September 3rd, 2014. Another amazing fact about Yellowstone’s hydrothermal features is that they are also habitats for thermophiles. Thermophiles, or extremophiles, are microorganisms that live in Yellowstone’s hot springs and other hydrothermal features in temperatures of 185 degrees. The vivid colors of hot springs like the Grand Prismatic Spring, pictured above, are the result of these microbial communities. Scientists began studying these heat-loving microbes in the 1960s and results from these studies has since yielded numerous scientific and economic benefits.
In the north end of the park is Lamar Valley. It’s an immense grassland valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. It is full of wildlife and is often called the Serengeti of North America because of its large wild ungulate herds of bison, elk, pronghorn, and mule deer, which draw many predators and scavengers such as wolves, grizzly and black bear, mountain lions, coyotes, ravens, eagles, and other birds of prey. It’s not unusual for crowds of people pulled off the road watching an elk or bison kill in progress by wolves or a grizzly bear in the valley, especially during the Spring. And much like the migrating ungulate herds of the Serengeti, the herds of Yellowstone and Lamar Valley migrate in and out of the valley as late Fall and Winter descend on the park, usually moving to lower elevations where there is less snow. Some remain, though, and those that do risk their fate in the deep snows of Lamar with the wolves that stay through the winter.
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most remarkable places on the planet and it is preserved “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” as the inscription states on the Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance to the park. But Yellowstone also exists for the preservation of one of largest, nearly intact ecosystems on Earth with a diverse species of plants and animals, magnificent geologic wonders, and its many strange and wonderful hydrothermal features. You can find out more about Yellowstone National Park and related themes in eLibrary by following the links below and throughout this blog.
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Winter is fast approaching and so is the season of Christmas. During this time of year, many people celebrate traditions with their families and communities. Activities include holiday parades, visiting Santa at the mall, decorating houses, and more. Since 1923, an important American tradition has been the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony where the President of the United States lights the “National Christmas Tree.” This year, the ceremony takes place Dec. 3, 2015, in front of the White House at the Ellipse at President’s Park.
Over the years, various trees have been used for the ceremony. The first decorated trees were cut trees and some were 23 feet tall! In 1978, a living tree was successfully planted in the Ellipse and was 30 feet tall. Since 2010, a few replacement trees have been planted in the same location.
Tickets for the actual day of the lighting ceremony are free and distributed through a lottery system. There are about 3,000 seats plus 14,000 standing spots for visitors. But the tree can be visited throughout the whole month of December.
Educators can also visit ProQuest SIRS Discoverer for student resources on Christmas and holiday traditions. Here are some examples of searches to get you started:
“There is nothing so American as our national parks…. The fundamental idea behind the parks…is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.”– President Franklin D. Roosevelt
April 18-26 is National Park Week, a presidentially proclaimed annual celebration of our nation’s national parks. During National Park Week, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation are encouraging people to discover and enjoy the wonders of America’s national parks. Visitors can take advantage of the special programs and activities offered during the week, including free admission on opening weekend. There are over 400 properties in the national park system for visitors to explore, including “national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.”
I’ve been lucky enough to visit some of the most picturesque national parks in the United States, including Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and Denali National Park & Preserve in Alaska. National parks offer visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature and the thrill of seeing wildlife. National Park Week is a great time for educators to raise awareness about the historical, cultural, and scientific importance of our magnificent national parks. In honor of National Park Week, here are web sites from ProQuest SIRS WebSelect and Research Topics from ProQuest eLibrary about my 5 favorite must-see national parks.
1. Acadia National Park, the first national park established east of the Mississippi River is located on the wild and rugged coast of Maine. Major attractions in the park include the scenic 27-mile Park Loop Road, Bass Harbor Head Light—Mount Desert Island’s only lighthouse, and Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast. 45 miles of carriage roads, built by John D. Rockefeller Jr., are shared by cyclists, pedestrians, and horses. (Acadia National Park Research Topic)
2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States straddles the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. The park is known for its ancient mountains, diverse flora and fauna, and its preservation of Southern Appalachian culture and history. Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, and Laurel Falls are popular destinations in the park. The park offers a wide range of activities, including auto touring, hiking, and wildlife viewing—an estimated 1,500 black bears live in the national park. (Great Smoky Mountains National Park Research Topic)
3. Kenai Fjords National Park encompasses over 600,000 acres along the southern edge of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. The charming seaside town of Seward is the gateway to this magnificent park. The park is defined by three main areas: Harding Icefield, Exit Glacier, and the coastal fjords. Harding Icefield, the park’s crowning feature is one of the biggest ice fields in the United States and is the source of almost 40 glaciers. Visitors can hike to Exit Glacier to witness an active glacier up close. The popular destination is the only road accessible area in the park. Boat tours of the park give visitors the opportunity to experience the fjords, glaciers, and abundant wildlife. The park’s pristine scenery can also be explored by kayaking and flightseeing. (Kenai Fjords National Park Research Topic)
4. Yellowstone National Park was established as the first national park in the United States in 1872 and is considered a national treasure. The park is located primarily in Wyoming, although parts of it extend into Montana and Idaho. The park is known for its diverse wildlife and geothermal wonders. Yellowstone is home to bison, elk, coyotes, grizzly bears, pronghorn, wolves, and many more species of animals. The park contains over 10,000 hydrothermal features, including fumaroles, geysers, hot springs, mudpots, and travertine terraces. Yellowstone’s major attractions include Old Faithful, the Upper Geyser Basin, the Lower Geyser Basin, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Hayden Valley, Yellowstone Lake, the West Thumb Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Norris Geyser Basin, and Tower Fall. Yellowstone offers an array of activities, including camping, hiking, guided tours, snowmobiling, and wildlife viewing. Yellowstone was the first national park I ever visited and for me it remains the quintessential national park experience. (Yellowstone National Park Research Topic)
5. Yosemite National Park became America’s third national park on October 1, 1890 and will be commemorating its 125th anniversary this year. The majestic and expansive park, best known for its waterfalls, giant sequoias, and rock formations covers almost 1,200 square miles in the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range in California. Although the park is approximately the size of Rhode Island, most visitors converge on a small section of the park–Yosemite Valley. Yosemite’s most famous attractions, including Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls are concentrated in Yosemite Valley. Yosemite offers not only inspiring scenery, but also a variety of activities for visitors, including auto touring, backpacking, camping, hiking, rock climbing, and tours. (Yosemite National Park Research Topic)
For more information on the national parks, here are more related resources available in ProQuest eLibrary and ProQuest SIRS WebSelect.
Visiting a national park is great way to learn about science and nature, whether it’s in the field of biology, ecology, or geology. There are 58 national parks in the U.S. national park system all with unique land features and ecosystems. Yellowstone National Park, our first national park, has some of the most diverse and spectacular features of any park in our country. Vast valleys spiked with sagebrush and indian paintbrush and lofty mountains peaks with alpine tundra support a host of wildlife including grizzly bears, gray wolves, bison, and elk. However, Yellowstone is most notable for its remarkable hydrothermal wonders of geysers, mudpots, and hot springs.
In contrast, Everglades National Park in southern Florida features miles and miles of subtropic wetlands and is home to rare and endangered species such as the American crocodile, West Indian manatee, and the Florida panther. The Everglades also contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere.
Although Yosemite National Park was not the first park in our country’s national park system, it was the first to inspire naturalist John Muir to promote the national park idea and the work toward creation of the United States National Park Service. Consequently, Yosemite was designated a national park in 1890, 14 years after Yellowstone’s designation. His studies on the geology and glaciers of Yosemite led to the accepted theory of the formation of Yosemite’s vast and dramatic valleys by glacial movement.
and browse through each issue, or do an advanced search by inserting the magazine’s title in the Publication Name field at the bottom of the Advanced Search page, then search by keyword.
Another way of finding resources is through the Topics tab at the top of the search page. Simply click through on Reference, Regional Studies, Countries of the World, North America, United States, and Geography to find information on National Parks.
There’s also the Browse Research Topics function on the Basic Search page where most national parks are covered.
Simply click on Browse Research Topic, click on the appropriate letter, then browse through all the topics alphabetically until you find the park you’re interested in.
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