Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First National Parks

This week in history two national parks came into being. Although established during different years, they formed the backbone of what would become one of America’s greatest natural resources.
1919: The Grand Canyon was first created by the Colorado River. A mile deep and 15 miles across at its widest point and measured then at 800,000 acres, it was first a National Monument. Made of natural multi-colored stonewalls, it inhabits more than 1,500 species of plants and 500 species of animals. Its name was first coined in the 1870s by American explorer and geologist, John Wesley Powell. Prior to being a recreational spot, the land was preserved to save the beauty and nature of the land.
1929: The Grand Tetons is located in Wyoming. There is a lot of human history that dates back tens of thousands of years in this region. Some of the first hunter-gatherers and settlers of Indian tribes would travel to this area for food and supplies. Then in the 19th century settlers would come through this land for trade routes and permanent living. The people wanted to have farms and ranches. Finally in 1929, after much political debate, Grand Teton was declared a National Park. This park stretches about 309,993 acres.
Fun Facts:
  • Every year 5 million people travel to visit the Grand Canyon
  • Grand Teton National Park was established twice, first in 1929 to protect mountain peaks and the lakes surrounding the mountain bases, then in 1950, when the valley floor and Jackson Hole monument were incorporated into the park preservation.
  • The national park system comprises 398 areas covering more than 84 million acres in most states.
  • There are about 221,000 volunteers in all of the parks
  • The park system has 84,000,000 acres of land

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