California chaparral and woodlands
The California chaparral and woodlands is a terrestrial ecoregion of lower northern and southern California and northwestern Baja California, located on the west coast of North America. It is an ecoregion of the Mediterranean forests and scrub Biome, the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion is subdivided into three smaller ecoregions. California coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion, In southern coastal California and northwestern coastal Baja California, as well as all the Channel Islands of California and Guadalupe Island. California interior chaparral and woodlands, In central interior California surrounding the California Central Valley cover the foothills, the ecoregion includes a great variety of plant communities, including grasslands, oak savannas and woodlands and coniferous forests, including southern stands of the tall coast redwood. Species include the California gnatcatcher, Costas hummingbird, coast horned lizard, other animals found here are the Heermann kangaroo rat, Santa Cruz kangaroo rat, and the endangered white-eared pocket mouse.
Another notable insect resident of this ecoregion is the rain beetle It spends up to years living underground in a larval stage. Chaparral, like most Mediterranean shrublands, is highly resilient and historically burned with high-severity. Historically, Native Americans burned chaparral to promote grasslands for textiles, though adapted to infrequent fires, chaparral plant communities can be exterminated by frequent fires especially with climate change induced drought. Today, frequent accidental ignitions can convert chaparral from a native shrubland to nonnative annual grassland and drastically reduce species diversity, some unique plant communities, like southern Californias Coastal Sage Scrub, have been nearly eradicated by agriculture and urbanization. As a result, the now has many rare and endangered species
The gray fox, or grey fox, is a carnivorous mammal of the family Canidae ranging throughout most of the southern half of North America from southern Canada to the northern part of South America. No other canids natural range spans both North and South America and it is the only American canid that can climb trees. This species and its congener, the diminutive Channel Island fox, are the only living members of the genus Urocyon. Though it was once the most common fox in the eastern United States, the Pacific States still have the gray fox as a dominant. Its specific epithet cinereoargenteus means ashen silver, the gray fox appeared in North America during the mid-Pliocene epoch 3. Genetic analyses of the fox-like canids confirmed that the fox is a distinct genus from the red foxes. Genetically, the gray fox often clusters with two other ancient lineages, the east Asian raccoon dog and the African bat-eared fox, faunal remains at two northern California cave sites confirm the presence of the gray fox during the late Pleistocene.
Genetic analysis has shown that the gray fox migrated into the northeastern United States post-Pleistocene in association with the Medieval Climate Anomaly warming trend, recent mitochondrial genetic studies suggests divergence of North American eastern and western gray foxes in the Irvingtonian mid-Pleistocene into separate sister taxa. The gray foxs dwarf relative, the Channel Island fox, is descended from mainland gray foxes. These foxes apparently were transported by humans to the islands and from island to island, there is little sexual dimorphism, save for the females being slightly smaller than males. The gray fox ranges from 76 to 112.5 cm in total length, the tail measures 27.5 to 44.3 cm of that length and its hind feet measure 100 to 150 mm. The gray fox typically weighs 3.6 to 7 kg and it is readily differentiated from the red fox by the lack of black stockings that stand out on the latter and the stripe of black hair that runs along the middle of the tail. In contrast to all Vulpes and related foxes, the fox has oval pupils.
The gray foxs ability to climb trees is shared only with the Asian raccoon dog among canids and its strong, hooked claws allow it to scramble up trees to escape many predators, such as the domestic dog or the coyote, or to reach tree-bound or arboreal food sources. It can climb branchless, vertical trunks to heights of 18 meters and it descends primarily by jumping from branch to branch, or by descending slowly backwards as a domestic cat would do. The gray fox is nocturnal or crepuscular and makes its den in hollow trees, such gray fox tree dens may be located 30 ft above the ground. In areas where red and gray foxes exist, the gray fox is dominant. The breeding season of the gray fox varies geographically, in Michigan, the gestation period lasts approximately 53 days
Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles is managed by the National Park Service and the majority of the park is protected as wilderness. The national park is divided by the formations into East and West Divisions, connected by foot trails. The east side has shade and water, the west has high walls, the rock formations provide for spectacular pinnacles that attract rock climbers. The park features unusual talus caves that house at least thirteen species of bat, Pinnacles is most often visited in spring or fall because of the intense heat during the summer months. Park lands are prime habitat for prairie falcons, and are a site for California condors that have been hatched in captivity. Pinnacles National Monument was established in 1908 by U. S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Pinnacles National Park was created from the former Pinnacles National Monument by legislation passed by Congress in late 2012 and signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 10,2013. Native Americans in the Pinnacles region comprised the Chalon and Mutsun groups of the Ohlone people and these native people declined with the arrival of the Spanish in the 18th century, who brought novel diseases and changes to the natives way of life.
The last Chalon had died or departed from the area by 1810, from 1810 to 1865, when the first Anglo-American settlers arrived, the Pinnacles region was a wilderness without human use or habitation. The establishment of a Spanish mission at Soledad hastened the areas native depopulation through disease, archaeological surveys have found thirteen sites inhabited by Native Americans, twelve of which post-date the establishment of the missions. One site is believed to be about 2000 years old, by the 1880s the Pinnacles, known as the Palisades, were visited by picnickers from the surrounding communities who would explore the caves and camp. The first account of the Pinnacles region appeared in print in 1881, between 1889 and 1891, newspaper articles shifted from describing excursions to the Palisades to calling them the Pinnacles. Interest in the rose to the point that the Hollister Free Lance sent a reporter to the Pinnacles. Investors came from San Francisco to consider placing a hotel there. In 1894 a post office was established in Bear Valley, since there was at least one other Bear Valley in California, the post office was named Cook after Mrs.
Hains maiden name. In 1924 the post office was renamed Pinnacles, Schuyler Hain was a homesteader who arrived in the Pinnacles area in 1891 from Michigan, following his parents and eight siblings to Bear Valley. White, was a student at Stanford University, and White brought one of his professors to see the Pinnacles in 1893, dr. Gilbert was impressed by the scenery, and his comments inspired Hain to publicize the region. Hain led tours to Bear Valley and through the caves, advocating the preservation of the Pinnacles, Hains efforts resulted in a 1904 visit by Stanford president David Starr Jordan, who contacted Fresno Congressman James C. Jordan and Needham in turn influenced Gifford Pinchot to advocate the establishment of the Pinnacles Forest Reserve to President Theodore Roosevelt, Roosevelt proclaimed the establishment on July 8,1906
The red-tailed hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the chickenhawk, though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West Indies, Red-tailed hawks can acclimate to all the biomes within their range. There are fourteen recognized subspecies, which vary in appearance and range and it is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, typically weighing from 690 to 1,600 g and measuring 45–65 cm in length, with a wingspan from 110–145 cm. The red-tailed hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, with females averaging about 25% heavier than males, the bird is sometimes referred to as the red-tail for short, when the meaning is clear in context. The subspecies Harlans hawk is sometimes considered a separate species, the red-tailed hawk occupies a wide range of habitats and altitudes, including deserts, grasslands and deciduous forests, agricultural fields and urban areas.
It lives throughout the North American continent, except in areas of unbroken forest or the high arctic and it is legally protected in Canada and the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Because they are so common and easily trained as capable hunters, falconers are permitted to take only passage hawks so as to not affect the breeding population. Adults, which may be breeding or rearing chicks, may not be taken for falconry purposes, passage red-tailed hawks are preferred by falconers because these younger birds have not yet developed the adult behaviors which would make them more difficult to train. As is the case with many raptors, the red-tailed hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, as is typical in large raptors, frequently reported mean body mass for Red-tailed Hawks are somewhat higher than expansive research reveals. The heaviest surveyed weights came from migrants in Cape May, New Jersey, males can reportedly measure 45 to 60 cm in total length, females measuring 48 to 65 cm long.
The wingspan can range from 105 to 141 cm and, in the scientific method of measuring wing size. The tail measures 188 to 258.7 mm in length, the exposed culmen was reported to range from 21.7 to 30.2 mm and the tarsus averaged 74. 7–95.8 mm. The middle toe can range from 38.3 to 53.8 mm, Red-tailed hawk plumage can be variable, depending on the subspecies and the region. These color variations are morphs, and are not related to molting, the western North American population, B. j. calurus, is the most variable subspecies and has three color morphs, light and intermediate or rufus. The dark and intermediate morphs constitute 10–20% of the population, though the markings and hue vary across the subspecies, the basic appearance of the red-tailed hawk is consistent. Overall, this species is blocky and broad in shape, often appearing heavier than other Buteos of similar length, a whitish underbelly with a dark brown band across the belly, formed by horizontal streaks in feather patterning, is present in most color variations.
Especially in younger birds, the underside may be covered with dark brown spotting. The red tail, which gives this species its name, is uniformly brick-red above, the bill is short and dark, in the hooked shape characteristic of raptors, and the head can sometimes appear small in size against the thick body frame
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California. The park was established in 1940 and covers 461,901 acres and it incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias. The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park and they were designated the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976. Humans have inhabited the area for thousands of years, the first Native Americans in the area were Paiute peoples, who moved into the region from their ancestral home east of Mono Lake. The Paiute Nation people used deer and other animals for food. They created trade routes that extended down the slope of the Sierra into the Owens Valley. Kings Canyon had been known to white settlers since the mid-19th century, United States Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes fought to create the Kings Canyon National Park. He hired Ansel Adams to photograph and document this among other parks, the bill combined the General Grant Grove with the backcountry beyond Zumwalt Meadow.
Kings Canyons future was in doubt for nearly fifty years, some wanted to build a dam at the western end of the valley, while others wanted to preserve it as a park. The debate was settled in 1965, when the valley, along with Tehipite Valley, was added to the park, Kings Canyon National Park consists of two sections. The parks Giant Sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and this section of the park is mostly mixed conifer forest, and is readily accessible via paved highways. Both the South and Middle Forks of the Kings Rivers have extensive glacial canyons, one portion of the South Fork canyon, known as the Kings Canyon, gives the entire park its name. Kings Canyon, with a depth of 8,200 feet, is one of the deepest canyons in the United States. The canyon was carved by glaciers out of granite, the Kings Canyon, and its developed area, Cedar Grove, is the only portion of the main part of the park that is accessible by motor vehicle. Both the Kings Canyon and its Middle Fork twin, Tehipite Valley, are deeply incised, U-shaped glacial gorges with relatively flat floors and towering granite cliffs thousands of feet high.
In addition, the canyon has several systems, one of which is Boyden Cave. To the east of the canyons are the peaks of the Sierra Crest, which attain an elevation of 14,248 feet NAVD88 at the summit of North Palisade. This is classic high Sierra country, barren ridges and glacially scoured lake-filled basins
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
The California quail, known as the California valley quail or valley quail, is a small ground-dwelling bird in the New World quail family. These birds have a curving crest or plume, made of six feathers, that droops forward, black in males and brown in females, males have a dark brown cap and a black face with a brown back, a grey-blue chest and a light brown belly. Females and immature birds are mainly grey-brown with a light-colored belly and their closest relative is Gambels quail which has a more southerly distribution and, a longer crest at 2.5 in, a brighter head and a scalier appearance. The two species separated about 1–2 million years ago, during the Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene and it is the state bird of California. One of their daily activities is a dust bath. A group of quail will select an area where the ground has been turned or is soft. They wriggle about in the indentations they have created, flapping their wings and ruffling their feathers and they seem to prefer sunny places in which to create these dust baths.
An ornithologist is able to detect the presence of quail in an area by spotting the circular indentations left behind in the soft dirt, although this bird coexists well at the edges of urban areas, it is declining in some areas as human populations increase. These birds forage on the ground, often scratching at the soil and they can sometimes be seen feeding at the sides of roads. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and leaves, but they eat some berries and insects, for example. If startled, these birds explode into short rapid flight, called flushing, given a choice, they will normally escape on foot. Their breeding habitat is shrubby areas and open woodlands in western North America, the nest is a shallow scrape lined with vegetation on the ground beneath a shrub or other cover. The female usually lays approximately 12 eggs, once hatched, the young associate with both adults. Often, families group together, into multifamily communal broods which include at least two females, multiple males and many offspring, males associated with families are not always the genetic fathers.
In good years, females lay more than one clutch, leaving the hatched young with the associated male and laying a new clutch. They have a variety of including the social chicago call, contact pips. During the breeding season, males utter the agonistic squill and will often interrupt their social mates chicago call with a squill, the California quail is the state bird of California. It was established as the bird in 1931
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park is a United States national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U. S. state of California, in the Pacific Ocean. Although the islands are close to the shore of densely populated Southern California, the park covers 249,561 acres of which 79,019 acres are owned by the federal government. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 76% of Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park is home to a wide variety of significant natural and cultural resources. It was designated a U. S. National Monument on April 26,1938, and it was promoted to a National Park on March 5,1980. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary encompasses the waters six nautical miles around Channel Islands National Park, the Channel Islands were originally discovered in 1542 by the explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. In 1938 the Santa Barbara and Anacapa islands were designated a national monument, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands were combined with the monument in 1980 to form modern-day Channel Islands National Park.
On January 28,1969 an oil rig belonging to Union Oil experienced a blow-out 6 miles off the coast of California, the resulting spill was, at the time, the largest oil spill to occur in United States territorial waters. Following the spill, tides carried the oil onto the beaches of the Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and this spill had a large impact on native wildlife of the Channel Islands. Much of the seabird population was affected, with over an estimated 3,600 avians killed. Meanwhile, seals and other sea life died and washed ashore on both the islands and the mainland and this spill is the third largest oil spill in the United States, only surpassed by the Deepwater Horizon and the Exxon Valdez oil spills. It resulted in a 34,000 acres expansion of the Department of the Interior buffer zone in the channel, the islands within the park extend along the Southern California coast from Point Conception near Santa Barbara to San Pedro, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. Park headquarters and the Robert J.
Lagomarsino Visitor Center are located in the city of Ventura, only three mammals are endemic to the islands, one of which is the deer mouse which is known to carry the sin nombre hantavirus. The spotted skunk and Channel Islands fox are endemic, the island fence lizard is endemic to the Channel Islands. One hundred and forty-five of these species are unique to the islands, Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal on earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 10,000 years, the average annual visitation to the parks mainland visitor center was around 300,000 in the period from 2007 to 2016, with 364,807 visiting in 2016. The visitor center is located in the Ventura Harbor Village, the visitor center contains several exhibits that provide information regarding all five islands, native vegetation, marine life and cultural history. Also, visitors can enjoy a film, free of charge. The visitor center is open day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, from 8, 30AM–5
The cougar, commonly known as the mountain lion, panther, or catamount, is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae native to the Americas. Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the greatest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, an adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types. It is the second-heaviest cat in the New World, after the jaguar and largely solitary by nature, the cougar is properly considered both nocturnal and crepuscular, although there are daytime sightings. The cougar is more related to smaller felines, including the domestic cat, than to any species of subfamily Pantherinae. The cougar is a predator and pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources are ungulates, particularly deer, but livestock and it hunts species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, the cougar is territorial and survives at low population densities.
Individual territory sizes depend on terrain and abundance of prey, while large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding to the jaguar, gray wolf, American black bear, and grizzly bear. It is reclusive and mostly avoids people, fatal attacks on humans are rare, but have recently been increasing in North America as more people enter their territories. Intensive hunting following European colonization of the Americas and the human development of cougar habitat has caused populations to drop in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, reports of eastern cougars still surface, although it was declared extirpated in 2011. With its vast range across the length of the Americas, P. concolor has dozens of names and various references in the mythology of the indigenous Americans and in contemporary culture. Currently, it is referred to as puma by most scientists, Mountain lion was a term first used in writing in 1858 from the diary of George A.
Jackson of Colorado. Other names include catamount, mountain screamer, and painter, lexicographers regard painter as a primarily upper-Southern US regional variant on panther. The word panther is used to specifically designate the black panther, a melanistic jaguar or leopard, and the Florida panther. P. concolor holds the Guinness record for the animal with the greatest number of names, Cougar may be borrowed from the archaic Portuguese çuçuarana, the term was originally derived from the Tupi language susuarana, meaning similar to deer. A current form in Brazil is suçuarana and it may be borrowed from the Guaraní language term guaçu ara or guazu ara. Less common Portuguese terms are onça-parda or leão-baio, or unusually non-native puma or leão-da-montanha, people in rural regions often refer to both the cougar and the jaguar as simply gata, and outside of the Amazon, both are colloquially referred to as simply onça by many people
National Park Service
It was created on August 25,1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. As of 2014, the NPS employs 21,651 employees who oversee 417 units, the National Park Service celebrated its centennial in 2016. National parks and national monuments in the United States were originally individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior, the movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior and they wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service, Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS.
On March 3,1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933, the act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasnt until that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Roosevelt agreed and issued two Executive orders to make it happen. In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service, the demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery, Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and National Recreation Areas. Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States national parks, Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States.
In 1872, there was no government to manage it. Yosemite National Park began as a park, the land for the park was donated by the federal government to the state of California in 1864 for perpetual conservation. Yosemite was returned to federal ownership, at first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the staff was replaced by the U. S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. Later, the agency was given authority over other protected areas, the National Park System includes all properties managed by the National Park Service
San Bernardino Mountains
The San Bernardino Mountains are a high and rugged mountain range in Southern California in the United States. Situated north and northeast of San Bernardino and spanning two California counties, the range out at 11,489 feet at San Gorgonio Mountain – the tallest peak in all of Southern California. The San Bernardinos form a significant region of wilderness and are popular for hiking and skiing, the mountains were formed about eleven million years ago by tectonic activity along the San Andreas Fault, and are still actively rising. Many local rivers originate in the range, which receives more precipitation than the surrounding desert. The ranges unique and varying environment allows it to some of the greatest biodiversity in the state. For over 10,000 years, the San Bernardinos and their surrounds have been inhabited by indigenous peoples, Spanish explorers first encountered the San Bernardinos in the late 18th century, naming the eponymous San Bernardino Valley at its base. European settlement of the region progressed slowly until 1860, when the became the focus of the largest gold rush ever to occur in Southern California.
Recreational development of the began in the early 20th century. Since then, the mountains have been engineered for transportation. Four major state highways and the California Aqueduct traverse the mountains today, the Morongo Valley in the southeast divides the range from the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Encompassing roughly 2,100 square miles, the mountains lie mostly in San Bernardino County, the range divides three major physiographic regions, the highly urbanized Inland Empire to the southwest, the Coachella Valley in the southeast, and the Mojave Desert to the north. Most of the lies within the boundaries of the San Bernardino National Forest. From its northwestern end, the crest of the mountains rises steadily until they are interrupted by the gorge of Bear Creek, many cities lie at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains. These include San Bernardino and Yucaipa in the south, Yucca Valley to the east, in addition, there are several mid-sized to large towns in the mountains themselves, including Big Bear Lake, Big Bear City, Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs.
Cities within the San Bernardino Mountains total a population of about 44,000, several regional streams and rivers have their headwaters in the mountains. The principal drainage is provided by the Santa Ana River, which runs westwards into the Pacific Ocean in Orange County, the San Bernardino Mountains are a humid island in the mostly semi-arid southern California coastal plain. Parts of the San Bernardino Mountains have annual totals in excess of 40 inches. Most of the falls between November and March, summers are mostly dry except for infrequent thunderstorms during late summer
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