Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a national park spanning portions of Tuolumne and Madera counties in Northern California. The park, which is managed by the National Park Service, on average, about 4 million people visit Yosemite each year, and most spend the majority of their time in the seven square miles of Yosemite Valley. The park set a record in 2016, surpassing 5 million visitors for the first time in its history. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness, Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. First, Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development, Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has a range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet and contains five major vegetation zones, chaparral/oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone. Of Californias 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada, there is suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plants in the park, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy.
The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granitic rocks, about 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in formation of deep, about one million years ago and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet during the early glacial episode, the downslope movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors to its scenic vistas today. The name Yosemite originally referred to the name of a tribe which was driven out of the area by the Mariposa Battalion. Before the area was called Ahwahnee by indigenous people, as revealed by archeological finds, the Yosemite Valley has been inhabited for nearly 3,000 years, though humans may have first visited the area as long as 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.
The indigenous natives called themselves the Ahwahneechee, meaning dwellers in Ahwahnee and they are related to the Northern Paiute and Mono tribes. Many tribes visited the area to trade, including nearby Central Sierra Miwoks, a major trading route went over Mono Pass and through Bloody Canyon to Mono Lake, just to the east of the Yosemite area. Vegetation and game in the region were similar to that present today, acorns were a staple to their diet, as well as seeds and plants, salmon. In 1851 as part of the Mariposa Wars intended to suppress Native American resistance and he was pursuing forces of around 200 Ahwahneechee led by Chief Tenaya. Accounts from this battalion were the first well-documented reports of ethnic Europeans entering Yosemite Valley, attached to Savages unit was Dr. Lafayette Bunnell, the company physician, who wrote about his awestruck impressions of the valley in The Discovery of the Yosemite. Bunnell is credited with naming Yosemite Valley, based on his interviews with Chief Tenaya, Bunnell wrote that Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Pai-Ute Colony of Ah-wah-nee
Mojave National Preserve
Mojave National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California, USA, between Interstate 15 and Interstate 40. The preserve was established October 31,1994 with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act by the US Congress, previously, it was the East Mojave National Scenic Area, under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. At 1,600,000 acres, it is the third largest unit of the National Park System in the contiguous United States. Natural features include the Kelso Dunes, the Marl Mountains and the Cima Dome, as well as volcanic formations such as Hole-in-the-Wall, the preserve encloses Providence Mountains State Recreation Area and Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve, which are both managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Impressive Joshua Tree forests cover parts of the preserve, the Cima Dome and Shadow Valley forests are the largest in the world. The defunct railroad depot and ghost town of Kelso are found there, the depot is now the visitor center.
The preserve is commonly traversed by 4 wheel drive vehicles traveling on the historic Mojave Road, summer temperatures average 90 °F, with highs exceeding 105 °F. Elevations in the Preserve range from 7,929 feet at Clark Mountain to 880 feet near Baker. Annual precipitation varies from 3.37 inches near Baker, to almost 9 inches in the mountains, at least 25% of precipitation comes from summer thunderstorms. Snow is often found in the mountains during the winter, the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 designated a wilderness area within Mojave National Preserve of approximately 695,200 acres. The National Park Service manages the wilderness in accordance with the Wilderness Act, the CDPA, the following climate data is for a higher elevation area in the preserve. See Climate of the Mojave Desert, Mojave Memorial Cross Official website Photo tour of Mojave National Preserve - from USGS
California State Route 1
State Route 1 is a major north-south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the U. S. state of California. At a total of just over 655.8 miles, it is the longest state route in California, Highway 1 has several portions designated as either Pacific Coast Highway, Cabrillo Highway, Shoreline Highway, or Coast Highway. Its southern terminus is at Interstate 5 near Dana Point in Orange County, Highway 1 at times runs concurrently with US101, most notably through a 54-mile stretch in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and across the Golden Gate Bridge. The highway is designated as an All-American Road, SR1 was built piecemeal in various stages, with the first section opening in the Big Sur region in the 1930s. However, portions of the route had several names and numbers over the years as more segments opened and it was not until the 1964 state highway renumbering that the entire route was officially designated as Highway 1. Highway 1 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System and is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System, only a few stretches between Los Angeles and San Francisco have officially been designated as a scenic highway.
The Big Sur section from San Luis Obispo to Carmel is an official National Scenic Byway, the entire route is designated as a Blue Star Memorial Highway to recognize those in the United States armed forces. In Southern California, the California Legislature has designated the segment between Interstate 5 in Dana Point and US101 near Oxnard as the Pacific Coast Highway, the legislature has designated the route as the Shoreline Highway between the Manzanita Junction near Marin City and Leggett. Smaller segments of the highway have been assigned other names by the state. The legislature has relinquished state control of segments within Dana Point, Newport Beach, Santa Monica, and Oxnard. The route annually helps bring several billion dollars to the tourism industry. Segments of Highway 1 range from a rural road to an urban freeway. Because of the former, long distance thru traffic traveling between the metropolitan areas are instead advised to use faster routes such as US101 or I-5. At its southernmost end in Orange County, Highway 1 terminates at I-5 in Capistrano Beach in Dana Point and it travels west into the city center.
After leaving Dana Point, Highway 1 continues northwest along the coast through Laguna Beach, Highway 1 enters Newport Beach, where it is known as simply Coast Highway. Upon entering Huntington Beach, Highway 1 regains the Pacific Coast Highway designation and it passes Huntington State Beach and the southern terminus of California State Route 39 before reaching Bolsa Chica State Beach and the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. PCH continues along the coast into Seal Beach, the city on its journey in Orange County. PCH enters Los Angeles County and the city of Long Beach after crossing the San Gabriel River, Highway 1 continues northwest through the city to its junction with Lakewood Boulevard and Los Coyotes Diagonal at the Los Alamitos Circle, more than 2 miles from the coast
Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Postpile National Monument is located near Mammoth Mountain in eastern California. The national monument protects Devils Postpile, a rock formation of columnar basalt. In addition, the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail merge into one trail as they pass through the monument, excluding a small developed area containing the monument headquarters, visitor center and a campground, the National Monument lies within the borders of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The monument was once part of Yosemite National Park, but discovery of gold in 1905 near Mammoth Lakes prompted a change that left the Postpile on adjacent public land. Later, a proposal to build a dam called for blasting the Postpile into the river. Influential Californians, including John Muir, persuaded the government to stop the demolition and, in 1911. The flora and fauna at Devils Postpile are typical of the Sierra Nevada, dark-eyed juncos and white-crowned sparrows are common in the summer. The name Devils Postpile refers to a cliff of columnar basalt.
Radiometric dating indicates the formation was created by a flow at some time less than 100,000 years ago. Estimates of the thickness range from 400 feet to 600 feet. The lava that now makes up the Postpile was near the bottom of this mass, because of its great thickness, much of the mass of pooled lava cooled slowly and evenly, which is why the columns are so long and so symmetrical. Columnar jointing occurs when certain types of contract while cooling. A glacier removed much of this mass of rock and left a surface on top of the columns with very noticeable glacial striations. The Postpiles columns average 2 feet in diameter, the largest being 3.5 feet, together they look like tall posts stacked in a pile, hence the features name. If the lava had cooled perfectly evenly, all of the columns would be expected to be hexagonal, but some of the columns have different polygonal cross-sections due to variations in cooling. A survey of 400 of the Postpiles columns found that 44. 5% were 6-sided,37. 5% 5-sided,9. 5% 4-sided,8.
0% 7-sided, compared with other examples of columnar jointing, the Postpile has more hexagonal columns. Another feature that places the Postpile in a category is the lack of horizontal jointing. Several stones from the Devils Postpile can be seen at the entrance to the United States Geological Survey headquarters lot in Reston, although the basaltic columns are impressive, they are not unique
Trione-Annadel State Park
Trione-Annadel State Park is a state park of California in the United States. It is situated at the edge of Sonoma Valley and is adjacent to Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa. It offers many activities within its 5, 092-acre property. These lands were occupied by the Wappo and Pomo people in times, who would have primarily inhabited the riparian zones. Annadel includes what some consider the best example of undisturbed northern oak woodlands in existence. Visitors can enjoy the parks wildlife and scenery during any time of the year but are perhaps most rewarded from April through June when most wildflowers are in bloom. Plant communities include California oak woodland, riparian woodland, Douglas fir forest, grassland, the dominant plant community is the oak woodland, which has a canopy of coast live oak, Garry oak, black oak, Pacific madrone, bigleaf maple, and California laurel. Canyon live oak occurs in swales and creeks, in the oak woodlands, the dominant understory plants are native bunchgrasses, wild blackberry, coyote brush, and western poison-oak.
The latter covers nearly one quarter of the understory in the park, Douglas fir occurs in some of the steeper, cooler riparian zones and on north-facing slopes. Common animals in Annadel include black-tailed deer, western gray squirrel, skunk and mountain lion are occasionally observed. There are many species, including the California scrub jay, Stellers jay, acorn woodpecker, black phoebe. In moist areas, amphibians such as the rough-skinned newt can be found, the southern reaches of Annadel are drained by Yulupa Creek and other tributaries of Sonoma Creek, while the northern flanks are part of the Santa Rosa Creek watershed. Eastern slopes are drained by Yulupa and Sonoma Creeks, while the slopes are part of the Spring Creek watershed. Many of Annadels streams are dry in the summer, because rainfall is highly seasonal, Ledson Marsh, which drains into Yulupa Creek, retains some smaller pools of water throughout most of the year. The highest elevation in the park is the top of Bennett Mountain,1,887 feet.
The entirety of Annadel was below the floor as recently as twelve million years ago, around which time massive uplift. Elevations in Annadel range from about 360 to 1,880 feet above sea level, slopes within Annadel commonly range from 15 to 30 percent, but it is not uncommon to encounter slopes up to 70 percent on steep slopes above drainages which are covered in douglas fir forest. Typical soil depths are 35 to 50 centimetres, much of the soil type in the Yulupa Creek riparian zone consists of Laniger loam, with rhyolite outcrops, another relic of the igneous history
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Overall administration is by the National Park Service, coordinating with state, county and university agencies. The Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area preserves one of the best examples of a Mediterranean climate ecosystem in the world and it protects one of the highest densities of archaeological resources in any mountain range in the world. The Santa Monica Mountains NRA contains 156,671 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains of the Transverse Ranges between the Pacific Ocean and inland valleys and its southeastern slopes are part of the headwaters of the Los Angeles River. In size the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the largest urban park in the United States. Besides geologic forces, people who inhabited the area in the past have been ones to affect the land, there were different reasons for people to come into the area. Some came to live and others to work the land, the first groups to live in the mountains were the Native American tribes called the Chumash and the Tongva who lived here for thousands of years.
Then came the Spanish Explorers and Homesteaders from other areas of the country, the Homesteaders brought new ideas and cultures that shaped the landscape and mindset of the area, and California overall. Up to this day, people continue to live, places such as Paramount Ranch, Solstice Canyon, and Rancho Sierra Vista/ Satwiwa still have that history that has been left behind by people in the past. The past stories from people are discovered through photographs, letters. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area strives to make sure the collections, the first area in the Santa Monica Mountains set aside for public use was Griffith Park which was donated to the city of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. During the first decade of the century, Frederick H. Rindge made several attempts to create a forest reserve in the Santa Monica Mountains. These reserves were precursors to national forests, in 1902 California’s State Mining Bureau examined the area being considered for the establishment of a forest reserve.
The resulting report was sent to Washington where the proposal for a reserve was denied, in 1907 an application was submitted to the Secretary of the Interior requesting that at least 70,000 acres in the mountains be designated a forest reserve. This time state mineralogist Lewis E. Aubury opposed the venture and he wrote the L. A. C. and endeavor to ascertain his views on the subject, and further protest against the creation of this proposed reserve”. Days the U. S. Limestone deposits were discovered in the mountains behind Pacific Palisades in 1925 which led to a battle between wealthy home owners of the area and land developers. The quarry site was in Traylor Canyon, three miles inland from the sea, between Santa Ynez and Temescal Canyons. Alphonzo Bell, Sr. was the real estate developer behind the scheme while local opposition was led by Sylvia Morrison. After much criticism of his plan, Bell offered a new proposal
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a U. S. National Recreation Area protecting 80,002 acres of ecologically and historically significant landscapes surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of the park is land used by the United States Army. GGNRA is managed by the National Park Service and is one of the most visited units of the National Park system in the United States, with more than 15 million visitors a year. It is one of the largest urban parks in the world, the park is not one continuous locale, but rather a collection of areas that stretch from southern San Mateo County to northern Marin County, and includes several areas of San Francisco. The park is as diverse as it is expansive, it contains famous tourist attractions such as Muir Woods National Monument, the park was created thanks to the cooperative legislative efforts of cosponsors Congressman William S. Mailliard and Congressman Phillip Burton. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law An Act to Establish the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the bill allocated $120 million for land acquisition and development.
The National Park Service first purchased Alcatraz and Fort Mason from the U. S. Army, the Nature Conservancy transferred the land to the GGNRA. These properties formed the basis for the park. Throughout the next 30 years, the National Park service acquired land and historic sites from the U. S. Army, private landowners and corporations, incorporating them into the GGNRA. Many decommissioned Army bases and fortifications were incorporated into the park, including Fort Funston, four Nike missile sites, The Presidio, the latest acquisition by the National Park Service is Mori Point, a small parcel of land on the Pacifica coast. In 1988, UNESCO designated the GGNRA and 12 adjacent protected areas the Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve, the property, located south of Pacifica and surrounding the communities of Moss Beach and Montara, is home to many diverse plant and animal species. The bill passed in the Senate, but did not pass the House of Representatives, Fort Baker - former Army post located on the northern side of the Golden Gate Headlands Center for the Arts - an artist residency program set in renovated military buildings in the Marin Headlands.
Nike Missile Site SF-88 - a decommissioned Army surface-to-air missile site located near Fort Barry, located at the southwestern corner of the Presidio Battery Chamberlin - one of the last remaining coastal defense disappearing guns on the U. S. Trails lead across the ridge and to Sharp Park beach, the site includes recently restored wetlands and a pond, protecting endangered San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog habitat. Rancho Corral de Tierra - the GGNRAs newest park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Scenery Video, a video showing the scenery observed from the GGNRA, including footage from Lands End
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is a national park in the United States. Straddling the border of California and Nevada, located east of the Sierra Nevada, the park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, valleys and mountains. It is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has declared an International Biosphere Reserve. Approximately 91% of the park is a wilderness area. It is the hottest and lowest of the parks in the United States. The second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, the park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep and the Death Valley pupfish, several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mine gold and silver. The only long-term profitable ore to be mined was borax, which was transported out of the valley with twenty-mule teams, the valley became the subject of books, radio programs, television series, and movies.
Tourism blossomed in the 1920s, when resorts were built around Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley National Monument was declared in 1933 and the park was substantially expanded and became a national park in 1994. The natural environment of the area has been shaped largely by its geology, the valley itself is actually a graben. The oldest rocks are metamorphosed and at least 1.7 billion years old. Ancient, shallow seas deposited marine sediments until rifting opened the Pacific Ocean, additional sedimentation occurred until a subduction zone formed off the coast. This uplifted the region out of the sea and created a line of volcanoes, the crust started to pull apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during the wet times of glacial periods, with lakes, in 2013, Death Valley National Park was designated as a dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association. There are two valleys in the park, Death Valley and Panamint Valley. Both of these valleys were formed within the last few million years, the result of this shearing action is additional extension in the central part of Death Valley which causes a slight widening and more subsidence there.
Uplift of surrounding mountain ranges and subsidence of the floor are both occurring. The uplift on the Black Mountains is so fast that the fans there are small
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California. Declared a U. S. National Park in 1994 when the U. S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act and it is named for the Joshua trees native to the park. It covers a area of 790,636 acres —an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. A large part of the park, some 429,690 acres, is a wilderness area. The Little San Bernardino Mountains run through the southwest edge of the park, in 1950, the size of the park was reduced by about 265,000 acres to exclude some mining property. The park was elevated to a National Park on 31 October 1994 by the Desert Protection Act, the higher and cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua tree for which the park is named. It occurs in patterns from dense forests to distantly spaced specimens, in addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in Californias deserts. The dominant geologic features of landscape are hills of bare rock.
These hills are popular amongst rock climbing and scrambling enthusiasts, the flatland between these hills is sparsely forested with Joshua trees. Together with the piles and Skull Rock, the trees make the landscape otherworldly. Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high/low of 85 and 50 °F respectively, winter brings cooler days, around 60 °F, and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations, summers are hot, over 100 °F during the day and not cooling much below 75 °F until the early hours of the morning. Joshua trees dominate the open spaces of the park, but in among the outcroppings are piñon pine, California juniper, Quercus turbinella, Quercus john-tuckeri. These communities are under stress, however, as the climate was wetter until the 1930s, with the same hot. These cycles were nothing new, but the vegetation did not prosper when wetter cycles returned. The difference may have been human development, cattle grazing took out some of the natural cover and made it less resistant to the changes.
But the bigger problem seems to be invasive species, such as cheatgrass, in drier times, they die back, but do not quickly decompose. This makes wildfires hotter and more destructive, which some of the trees that would have otherwise survived
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a state park located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, United States. The park takes its name from 18th century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, the Spanish word for bighorn sheep. With 600,000 acres that includes one-fifth of San Diego County, ABDSP is the largest state park in California and, after New Yorks Adirondack Park, the second largest in the contiguous United States. The park occupies eastern San Diego County and reaches into Imperial and Riverside counties, ABDSP is around a two-hour drive northeast from San Diego, southeast from Riverside or Irvine, and south from Palm Springs. The park is an anchor in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve, Park information and maps, interpretive events and displays and listening devices for the hearing impaired are all available in the Visitor Center. ABDSP has Wi-Fi access to the Internet in various sections of the park, many visitors approach ABDSP from the east-Coachella Valley side via California County Route S22 and S78.
These highways climb from the coast to 2,400 ft above sea level, the great bowl of the surrounding desert is surrounded by mountains, with the Vallecito Mountains to the south and the highest Santa Rosa Mountains to the north. They are in the wilderness area, without paved roads. In January of 2017 Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was named the best state park in California, the habitats of ABDSP are primarily within the Colorado Desert ecosystem of the Sonoran Desert ecoregion. The higher extreme northern and eastern sections in the Peninsular Ranges are in the California montane chaparral, the park features and desert washes, rock formations and colorful badlands, vast arid landscapes, and dramatic mountains. The bajadas are predominantly creosote bush-bur sage with creosote bush and the palo verde-cactus shrub ecosystems with the palo verde tree, cacti, in the washes, Colorado/Sonoran microphylla woodlands can be found. These woodlands include such plants as tree, velvet mesquite. ABDSP has natural springs and oases, with the only native palm.
Seasonal wildflower displays can be stunning in any plant community association throughout the park, the high-country to the north and east has closed-cone pine forests and oak woodlands. The oases are prolific with all types of fauna, especially for bird-watching, in the reptile class, desert iguanas and the red diamond rattlesnakes can be seen — with caution. ===Desert bighorn sheep=== Some areas of ABDSP are habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep, few park visitors see them, and the sheep are justly wary. A patient few observers each year see and count this endangered species to study the population, the expanses of ABDSPs eroded badlands provide a different view into the regions long-vanished tropical past. The inland of southeastern California was not always a desert, the study of the fossilized remains of ancient life, is the key to understanding this prehistoric world