National parks to visit this summer

Appreciate the beauty of America

A map showing the locations of some of the featured parks.

A map showing the locations of some of the featured parks.

Alex Nakamura, Staff Writer

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As summer is literally at our doorstep, let’s take a look at some great National Parks to visit this summer so you can take in the gloriousness of the American frontier. A great way to spend time with family is to go to one of the many National Parks within our nation. Allow me to give a quick summary of each park to give you some information on which may be the best for you and your family. I will list seven great parks, not in any specific order as each have their own unique attributes.

 

Petrified Forest

 

The Petrified Forest is a national park in Arizona. The Petrified or Painted Forest is best known for its fossils and fallen trees that once lived over 225 million years ago. Half of the park is dedicated to wilderness and large array of animals including bobcats, deer, snakes, and over 200 different species of birds. Temperatures average about 100°F in the summer and can reach well below freezing in the winter. One of the largest problems the park faces today is the theft of petrified wood.

 

Redwood National Park

 

The Redwood Forest is located along the coast of California. The park was established in 1969 and is over 139,000 acres long. Native American groups such as the Karok and Wiyot still live in the park today. The park averages about 40 – 50°F all year round. The redwood trees are one of the tallest and oldest species of trees on Earth, making this park a great tourist destination. The parks goal is to preserve the natural plants, animals, and other ecosystems along the coastline.

 

The Wind Cave

 

The Wind Cave, located in South Dakota, is among one of the oldest of America’s National Parks. It is also one on the most complex cave systems in the world. The park also includes large amounts of prairie land above the ground. Air moves quickly through the cave due to atmospheric changes and small openings, thus the name “Wind Cave.” The park protects a diverse ecosystem with animals ranging from elk, bison, and bobcats.

 

Yellowstone

 

The Yellowstone National Park spreads across the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. The park was established in 1872, which was also the first National Park in the US. Recreational activities such as hiking, boating, biking and camping are offered. The park also contains the Yellowstone Caldera, also known as the Yellowstone Super Volcano, which last erupted 630,000 years ago.

 

Zion

Zion National Park is located in Utah, in the southwestern United States. The park is best known for the Zion Canyon which runs 15 miles long through the park. It also cuts half a mile deep into the tan-colored sandstone. Zion is home to 289 different bird species, including Hawks, Falcons, and Eagles that can be sometimes be spotted. Common attractions include hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing.

 

Crater Lake

 

Crater Lake in south Oregon is very well known for its clear, deep blue water. The park formed due to the collapsing of Mount Mazama, a volcano, nearly 7,700 years ago. Phantom Ship and Wizard Island were two islands that also formed during this time in the lake. The lake was stocked with a variety of fish species, which are currently self-sustaining. The lake is 5 x 6 miles long with the deepest point of the lake at 600m.

 

With these parks in mind, my favorite would have to be Yellowstone as it is the epitome of the American West. Our nation has a wide expanse of parks that can be enjoyed by tourists, citizens, and families alike. This year, go on an adventure and explore!

 

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