Yosemite – National Park
The oldest of the National Parks is not Yellowstone, as many people think, but Yosemite. Yosemite was discovered in 1849, during the California Gold Rush by a man who was following an injured grizzly bear.
“Yosemite”, in fact, came from the name the Awhanee Indians had given to the grizzly bear. Sadly, grizzlies have died out here now, but there are still plenty of black bears.
Stories of Yosemite’s beauty had spread and travelers began to arrive to see it. But as more settlers came west, those who loved Yoesemite were afraid that the valley soon would be full of farms and colonists, and lost to the public forever.
In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln decided that Yosemite should be kept for the American people for all time, and the idea of the national parks was born. At first national parks had to be protected by the cavalry. These men on horses had to keep out hunters (who wanted to kill the deer and stag), and farmers with their livestock. For many years, the Rangers have been looking after the National Parks and have helped people to understand and enjoy them.
But tourists can be a problem, too. If more and more people come to the Parks, more and more roads, trails, car parks, etc. will be needed. As each of these gets built, a little bit of nature will be lost.
Yosemite is home to nearly 2,000 varieties of plants and animals, including giant sequoias. It is world famous for its geology with tall waterfalls and granite rocks too.
Yellowstone- National Park
Yellowstone was dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the enjoyment of the people in 1872. Its a preservation of mineral deposits, natural curiosities and wonders.
The commanding features that attracted interest and led to the preservation of Yellowstone as a national park, were geological: the geothermal phenomena (there are more geysers and hot springs here than in the rest of the world combined), the colorful Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, fossil forests, and the size and elevation (2350m) of Yellowstone Lake.
Yellowstone is famous for its hooved mammals, such as bison, elk and bighorn sheep. These animals live in groups by the hundreds. More solitary are the moose, mule deer, mountain goats and white tailed deer which are quite rare. In Yellowstone there are grizzly and black bears too. Grizzly bears are classified as a threatened species.
One of the specialities of Yellowstone is the Yellowstone Lake, which is situated in the middle of the park. The Lake has bright water and is 100 m deep. Southwards from the lake springs the source of the Yellowstone River.
Hot springs and geysers are very well known. The colour of hot springs, ranging from blue, to orange, to yellow, to black, is caused by the water’s temperature, algae, minerals, reflection and absorption of the light by particles in the water. The largest hot spring in Yellowstone is Grand Prismatic Spring. Geysers are hot springs which periodically erupt as pressure mounts deep under the surface. Some geysers erupt every minute, some remain inactive for years. The park contains 150 to 200 geysers, including Old Faithful which erupts approximately every 81 minutes.
One of the next extras are Mud Pots. Mud Pots are another form of hot springs. Hot water mixes with clay and minerals. They can be very colourful, depending on the mineral content. Sometimes they are called “paint pots”.