national park

national park

Area set aside by a national government for the preservation of its natural environment. Most national parks are kept in their natural state. Those in the U.S. and Canada emphasize land and wildlife preservation, those in Britain focus mainly on the land, and those in African nations focus primarily on animals. The world's first national park, Yellowstone, was established in the U.S. by Pres. Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Canada's first national park, Banff, was established in 1885. Japan and Mexico established their first national parks in the 1930s; Britain's national parks date to 1949. The U.S. National Park Service, established in 1916, now also manages national monuments, preserves, recreation areas, and seashores, as well as lakeshores, historic sites, parkways, scenic trails, and battlefields. Seealso national forest.

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National park, southwestern Utah, U.S. It covers an area of 229 sq mi (593 sq km); its principal feature is Zion Canyon, which was named by the Mormons who discovered it in 1858. Part of the area was first set aside as the Mukuntuweap National Monument in 1909. Enlarged and renamed Zion National Monument in 1918, it was established as a national park in 1919. Zion Canyon was carved by the Virgin River and is about 15 mi (24 km) long and 0.5 mi (0.8 km) deep. Rocky domes dot the canyon walls, which contain an abundant fossil record. Excavation has yielded evidence that prehistoric peoples once inhabited the area.

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National preserve, central California, U.S. Made a national park in 1890, it encompasses 761,320 ac (308,106 ha) in the Sierra Nevada range. Its many features include giant redwood groves with trees thousands of years old, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall (620 ft [189 m]), and huge domes and peaks; the greatest of these is El Capitan, a granite buttress that is 3,604 ft (1,098 m) high.

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National park, southeastern British Columbia, Canada. It occupies 507 sq mi (1,313 sq km) of the western and central slopes of the Rocky Mountains and is adjacent to Banff and Kootenay national parks. Known for the Burgess Shale archaeological site, geologic treasures, diverse wildlife, and scenic landscape, it was established as a national park in 1886. Features include glaciers, ice fields, steep mountains, and broad valleys. Black and grizzly bears, moose, mule deer, wapiti (elk), and mountain goats inhabit the park.

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National preserve in northwestern Wyoming, southern Montana, and eastern Idaho, U.S. The oldest national park in the U.S. (and in the world), it was established by the U.S. Congress in 1872; it covers 3,468 sq mi (8,983 sq km). The Gallatin, Absaroka, and Teton mountain ranges extend into it. Yellowstone has unusual geologic features, including fossil forests and eroded basaltic lava flows. It also has 10,000 hot springs, which erupt as steam vents, fumaroles, and geysers. Old Faithful, the park's most famous geyser, erupts every 33 to 120 minutes. There are many lakes and rivers, including Yellowstone Lake, Shoshone Lake, the Snake River, and the Yellowstone River. In 1988 an extensive series of forest fires temporarily laid waste to large areas of the park.

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National park, southeastern Alaska, U.S. Proclaimed a national monument in 1978, the area underwent boundary and name changes in 1980. The largest park in the U.S. national park system, it has an area of 12,318,000 ac (4,987,000 ha). At the convergence of the Chugach, Wrangell, and Saint Elias mountain ranges, it includes the largest assemblage of glaciers and the greatest collection of peaks above 16,000 ft (4,880 m) on the continent.

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Park, western Canada. Situated between Athabasca and Great Slave lakes, it was established in 1922; it occupies an area of 17,300 sq mi (44,807 sq km). The world's largest park, it is a vast region of forests and plains, crossed by the Peace River and dotted with lakes. The habitat of the largest remaining herd of wood buffalo (bison) on the North American continent, as well as of bear, caribou, moose, and beaver, it also provides nesting grounds for the endangered whooping crane.

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National park, southwestern South Dakota, U.S. Established in 1903 to preserve limestone caverns and unspoiled prairie grassland in the Black Hills, it covers an area of 28,292 ac (11,449 ha). Its caves contain 83 mi (134 km) of explored passages and have beautiful rock formations called boxwork, formed by calcite deposition in unique patterns. The park is also a wildlife refuge.

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Mountain recreational area, western Canada. Located in southwestern Alberta, it became a national park in 1895. It covers 203 sq mi (525 sq km). It adjoins the U.S. border and Glacier National Park in the U.S.; the two parks together compose the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, dedicated in 1932.

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National park, northern Minnesota, U.S. Located along the Canadian border, the park was established in 1975 and was named for the mostly French-Canadian fur-trading frontiersmen (voyageurs) of the 18th–19th centuries. It occupies an area of 217,892 ac (88,178 ha) and consists of a network of streams and lakes, the largest of which is Rainy Lake.

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Conservation area, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Covering 14,696 acres (5,947 hectares), it has steep mountains, white beaches, and coral reefs. Though most of the tree cover was removed for sugarcane cultivation in the 17th–18th century, the land has reverted to forest. Some 100 species of birds and the only native land mammal, the bat, can be found there. It has remains of Arawak Indian villages.

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Park, southeastern Kenya, east of Mount Kilimanjaro. Established in 1948, it covers 8,036 sq mi (20,812 sq km) and is Kenya's largest national park. For administrative purposes, it is divided into two smaller units: Tsavo East and Tsavo West. The park comprises semiarid plains covered by dormant vegetation (which blooms after a light rain) and acacia and baobab trees. Wildlife includes elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, hartebeests, and hundreds of bird species. Poaching and brush fires are constant problems.

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Preserve, west-central North Dakota, U.S. Established in 1947, it commemorates Pres. Theodore Roosevelt's interest in the American West. The 110-sq-mi (285-sq-km) park contains several sites along the Little Missouri River, including a petrified forest, Wind Canyon, eroded badlands, and Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch cabin.

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National park, Blue Ridge Mountains, northern Virginia, U.S. Formed in 1935, the park consists of 193,537 ac (78,322 ha) and is noted for its scenery, which affords some of the widest views in the eastern states. It is heavily forested with hardwoods and conifers; wildlife includes deer, foxes, and numerous birds.

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Wildlife refuge, north-central Tanzania. Established in 1951, the park covers 5,700 sq mi (14,763 sq km). An international tourist attraction, it is the only place in Africa where vast land-animal migrations still take place. More than 35 species of plains animals, more than 350 species of birds, and lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and baboons inhabit the park. Poaching is a major problem.

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National park, Sierra Nevada range, California, U.S. The park, with an area of 629 sq mi (1,629 sq km), was set aside in 1890 to protect groves of big trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) that are among the world's largest and oldest living things. The largest tree in the park is thought to be 2,300–2,700 years old. Kings Canyon National Park adjoins Sequoia park to the north; Mount Whitney is on the eastern boundary.

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Mountain and desert region, southern Arizona, U.S. Established as a national monument in 1933, it became a national park in 1994. It has a total area of 143 sq mi (370 sq km). Its two districts, separated by the city of Tucson, contain forests of saguaro cactus. Plant life also includes paloverde, mesquite, and ocotillo.

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National park, northwestern corner of California, U.S. It was established in 1968, expanded in 1978, and designated a World Heritage site in 1980. It preserves virgin groves of ancient redwood trees, including the world's tallest, 367.8 ft (112.1 m) high. It also includes 40 mi (65 km) of scenic Pacific coastline. It covers an area of 172 sq mi (445 sq km), including land in three state parks.

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National park, central Ontario, Canada. Established in 1971, it is Ontario's largest national park, covering 725 sq mi (1,878 sq km). It includes areas of rugged Canadian Shield wilderness as well as 50 mi (80 km) of the shoreline of northeastern Lake Superior, with rocky islets and coves and spectacular cliffs. Excavations of prehistoric Indian remains have been made. Wildlife includes timber wolf, black bear, mink, lynx, white-tailed deer, moose, and woodland caribou. The park has vast forests of white and black spruce, jack pine, poplar, and birch.

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Park, central Saskatchewan, Canada. Its main entrance is northwest of the city of Prince Albert. Established in 1927, it has an area of 1,496 sq mi (3,875 sq km) and is mostly woodland and lakes, interlaced with streams and nature trails. It is a sanctuary for birds, moose, elk, caribou, and bears.

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National park, eastern Arizona, U.S. Established as a national monument in 1906 and as a national park in 1962, it has an area of 146 sq mi (378 sq km). It features extensive exhibits of petrified wood in several “forest” areas, fossilized leaves, plants, and broken logs, and the Painted Desert. Other features include petroglyphs and ancient Pueblo Indian ruins.

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National park, northwestern Washington, U.S. Established in 1968 to preserve mountain snowfields, glaciers, alpine meadows, and lakes in the northern part of the Cascade Range, it covers an area of 504,781 acres (204,278 hectares). The Ross Lake National Recreation Area separates the park into two sections, the northern unit extending to the Canadian border and the southern unit adjoining the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.

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National park, southwestern Colorado, U.S. It was established in 1906 to preserve prehistoric Indian cliff dwellings. Occupying a high tableland area of 52,085 acres (21,078 hectares), it contains hundreds of pueblo ruins up to 13 centuries old. The most striking are multistoried apartments built under overhanging cliffs. Cliff Palace, the largest, was excavated in 1909 and contains hundreds of rooms, including kivas, the circular ceremonial chambers of the Pueblo Indians.

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National park, southwest-central Kentucky, U.S. The park, authorized in 1926 and established in 1941, occupies a surface area of 82 sq mi (212 sq km) that covers a system of limestone caverns. In 1972 a passage was discovered linking the Mammoth Cave and the Flint Ridge Cave System; the explored underground passages have a combined length of some 329 mi (530 km). The caves are inhabited by various animals that have undergone evolutionary adaptation to the dark, including cave crickets, blindfish, and blind crayfish. Mummified Indian bodies, possibly of pre-Columbian origin, have been found in the caves.

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National park, southern Alaska, U.S. Located on the western shore of Cook Inlet, it was proclaimed a national monument in 1978 and a national park in 1980. Its total area is 3,653,000 acres (1,478,300 hectares). Lake Clark, more than 40 mi (65 km) long, is the largest of its glacial lakes; it feeds rivers that provide the most important spawning ground for red salmon in North America. The park includes glaciers, waterfalls, and active volcanoes.

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National park, South Africa. Located in the northeastern part of the country on the Mozambique border, it was created as a game sanctuary in 1898 and in 1926 became a national park named for Paul Kruger. It covers an area of 7,523 sq mi (19,485 sq km) and contains six rivers. It has a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, and cheetahs. In December 2002 it became part of Africa's largest game park when Kruger National Park was joined with Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe to form the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

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National park, southeastern British Columbia, Canada. Centred around the Kootenay River, the park occupies the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, adjacent to Banff and Yoho national parks. Established as a national park in 1920, it covers 543 sq mi (1,406 sq km). From prehistoric times, the area was a major north-south travel route. Pictographs indicate that humans settled near the hot springs 11,000–12,000 years ago. The park's scenery is characterized by snowcapped peaks, glaciers, cascades, canyons, and verdant valleys. Wildlife includes wapiti (elk), moose, deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.

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National park, northwestern Alaska, U.S. Located north of the Arctic Circle, it was made a national monument in 1978 and a national park in 1980. Occupying an area of 1,750,421 acres (708,370 hectares), it preserves the Kobuk River valley, including the Kobuk and Salmon rivers, forest lands, and the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes. Archaeological sites reveal more than 10,000 years of human habitation. It protects caribou migration routes; other wildlife include grizzly and black bears, foxes, moose, and wolves.

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National park, Sierra Nevadas, south-central California, U.S. Occupying an area of 722 sq mi (1,870 sq km), it is administered along with the adjacent Sequoia National Park. Established in 1940, it contains giant sequoia trees. Its most spectacular feature is Kings Canyon on the Kings River, which was carved by glacial action.

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National park, southern Alaska, U.S. Located on the southern coast of the Kenai Peninsula and established as a national monument in 1978, it became a national park in 1980. Its area of 670,000 acres (271,100 hectares) includes the Harding Icefield and its outflowing glaciers as well as coastal fjords. The park's wildlife includes sea otters, seals, and seabirds.

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National park, southwestern Alaska, U.S., at the head of the Alaska Peninsula. Occupying an area of 4,090,000 acres (1,655,000 hectares), it was proclaimed a national monument in 1918 after the eruption of Novarupta in 1912. The eruption converted the valley into a wasteland known as the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, and the volcanic crater later became a lake. The park abounds in wildlife, including large numbers of brown and grizzly bears.

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National park, south-central Zambia. Located west of Lusaka, it was established in 1950. It occupies an area of 8,650 sq mi (22,400 sq km) and consists of a vast plateau, situated along the middle reaches of the Kafue River. The park is noted for its lush vegetation and abundant wildlife, including hippopotamuses, zebras, elephants, black rhinoceroses, and lions. Safaris are conducted on foot.

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National park, southeastern California, U.S. Situated on the border between the Mojave and Colorado deserts, it has an area of 1,241 sq mi (3,214 sq km). It was designated a national monument in 1936 and a national park in 1994. It is noted for its variety of desert plant life, including the Joshua tree, creosote bush, and Mojave yucca. Its fauna include coyotes, bobcats, and tarantulas.

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National park, western Alberta, Can. Located on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, it was established in 1907. It occupies 4,200 sq mi (10,878 sq km), including the Athabasca River valley and the surrounding mountains. It encompasses part of the great Columbia Icefield, the meltwaters of which feed rivers that flow to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans. The park's wildlife includes bear, elk, moose, caribou, and cougar.

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National preserve, southeastern shore of Hawaii island, U.S. Established in 1916, it occupies an area of 358 sq mi (927 sq km) and includes the active volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kilauea, 25 mi (40 km) apart. Other highlights are Kau Desert, an area of lava formations near Kilauea, and a tree-fern forest that receives nearly 100 in. (2,500 mm) of annual rainfall.

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National park, eastern Maui, Hawaii, U.S. Established in 1960, it occupies an area of 28,655 acres (11,597 hectares). Its central feature is Haleakala Crater, the world's largest dormant volcanic crater, more than 2,500 ft (762 m) deep and about 20 mi (32 km) in circumference. The crater floor, covering more than 19 sq mi (49 sq km), has areas of forest, desert, and meadow. It is the site of Science City, a research-observatory complex operated by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Universities of Hawaii and Michigan.

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National park, western Texas, U.S. Established in 1972, it occupies an area of 86,416 acres (34,998 hectares) east of El Paso. It is centred on two peaks: Guadalupe Peak, which reaches 8,751 ft (2,667 m), and El Capitan, which rises to 8,078 ft (2,462 m). The park is an area of great geologic interest, with a major Permian limestone fossil reef.

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Natural area, south-central Colorado, U.S. It lies at the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley along the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Established in 1932 as a national monument, the 150,000-acre (60,700-hectare) region contains some of the highest inland sand dunes in the U.S., with changing crests that rise to 700 ft (215 m). In 2000 the Great Sand Dunes National Preserve was created, and after much land acquisition the monument officially became a national park in 2004.

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National preserve, northwestern Wyoming, U.S. In 1950 most of Jackson Hole National Monument (a fertile valley) was incorporated into the park, which was established in 1929 and now covers 484 sq mi (1,254 sq km). The snow-covered peaks of its Teton Range are 7,000 ft (2,100 m) above the nearby Snake River valley.

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National preserve, British Columbia, Canada. Lying in the heart of the Selkirk Mountains, within the northern bend of the Columbia River, it was established in 1886; it occupies an area of 521 sq mi (1,349 sq km). Snowcapped peaks flanked by ice fields and glaciers form an alpine panorama. Outstanding features are the Illecillewaet Glacier and the Nakimu Caves in the Cougar Valley.

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Natural area, southeastern Alaska, U.S. Located on the Gulf of Alaska, it was proclaimed a national monument in 1925, established as a national park and preserve in 1980, and designated a World Heritage site in 1992. It covers 5,040 sq mi (13,053 sq km). It includes Glacier Bay, much of Mount Fairweather, and the U.S. portion of the Alsek River. Among its great tidewater glaciers is Muir Glacier, which rises 265 ft (81 m) above the water and is nearly 2 mi (3 km) wide. The park also includes a dramatic range of plant species and such wildlife as brown and black bears, mountain goats, whales, seals, and eagles.

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National preserve, northern Alaska, U.S. Its area of 11,756 sq mi (30,448 sq km) is entirely north of the Arctic Circle. Proclaimed a national monument in 1978, the area underwent boundary changes and was renamed in 1980. It includes a portion of the Central Brooks Range. The southern slopes are forested, contrasting with the barren northern reaches at the edge of Alaska's North Slope.

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Preserve, southern central Alaska, U.S. Established in 1980, it comprises the former Mount McKinley National Park (1917) and Denali National Monument (1978). Highlights of the park include Mount McKinley, the large glaciers of the Alaska Range, and abundant wildlife. The park's total area is 5,000,000 acres (2,025,000 hectares).

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Natural area, central South Carolina, U.S. Authorized as a national monument in 1976 and as a national park in 2003, it covers 35 sq mi (90 sq km) of alluvial floodplain on the Congaree River. It contains the last significant tract of virgin Southern bottomland hardwoods in the southeastern U.S., including loblolly pine, water tupelo, hickory, and oak, some of record size.

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Preserve, southeastern New Mexico, U.S. Established as a national monument in 1923 and as a national park in 1930, it covers 73 sq mi (189 sq km). Beneath the surface winds a maze of underground chambers; one of the largest caverns ever discovered, the Big Room, is about 2,000 ft (600 m) long and 1,100 ft (330 m) wide, and its ceiling arches 255 ft (78 m) above the floor. In the summer a colony of bats inhabits a part of the caverns known as Bat Cave.

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Park, south-central Utah, U.S. Occupying 378 sq mi (979 sq km), it comprises great buttressed cliffs of coloured Navajo sandstone extending for 100 mi (160 km) along the western edge of the Waterpocket Fold. Established as a national monument in 1937, it became a national park in 1971. It is so named because its rock towers reminded geologists of coral reefs, while its dome-shaped formations suggest capitol architecture. The cliff walls are covered with pre-Columbian petroglyphs.

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Park, southeastern Utah, U.S. The park, established in 1964, occupies a wilderness of water-eroded sandstone spires, canyons, and mesas extending over 527 sq mi (1,366 sq km). Some of its rock walls display Indian petroglyphs. The Needles section in its southern part contains the Angel and Druid arches, gigantic balanced rock formations.

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Park, southern Utah, U.S. It is not a true canyon but rather a series of natural amphitheatres below which stands an array of limestone and sandstone columns. Its geology is related to that of Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, since the stone of all three was formed while the entire region was under a shallow sea. The park, established in 1928, covers 35,835 acres (14,513 hectares).

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Park, western Colorado, U.S. Comprising a narrow, deep gorge of the Gunnison River, the preserve, established as a national monument in 1933 and elevated to a national park in 1999, occupies an area of 51 sq mi (133 sq km). The canyon derives its name from its black-stained, lichen-covered walls, which accentuate the gloom of the chasm.

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Preserve, southwestern Texas, U.S. It lies 250 mi (400 km) southeast of El Paso and occupies 1,252 sq mi (3,243 sq km). It was established in 1944 and named for the wide bend in the Rio Grande that skirts its southern edge. The park has magnificent mountain and desert scenery; it is home to more than 1,000 species of plants, and its wildlife includes coyotes, pumas, and roadrunners.

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Park, southwestern Alberta, Canada. Established as a natural reserve in 1885 and as Canada's first national park in 1887, it lies on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and includes mineral springs, ice fields, and glacial lakes, including Lake Louise. It has been greatly expanded to its present area of 2,564 sq mi (6,641 sq km). Banff is famed for its spectacular beauty, and visitors are so numerous that it is now more a recreation than a conservation area. In 1984 it was designated part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Preserve, eastern Utah, U.S. Located on the Colorado River north of Moab, the preserve was established as a national monument in 1929 and as a national park in 1971. Its area is about 120 sq mi (310 sq km). The park's sandstone has been eroded into unusual shapes, including Courthouse Towers, Fiery Furnace, and Devils Garden, the site of Landscape Arch, at 306 ft (93 m) the longest freestanding natural rock bridge in the world.

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Preserve on the coast of Maine, U.S. It has an area of 65 sq mi (168 sq km). Originally established as Sieur de Monts National Monument (1916), it became the first national park in the eastern U.S. as Lafayette National Park (1919) and was renamed Acadia in 1929. It consists mainly of a forested area on Mount Desert Island, dominated by Cadillac Mountain.

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Isle Royale National Park is a U.S. National Park in the state of Michigan. Isle Royale, the largest island in Lake Superior, is over 45 miles (72 km) in length and 9 miles (14 km) wide at its widest point. The park is made of Isle Royale itself and multiple smaller islands, along with any submerged lands within 4.5 miles (7.24 km) of the surrounding islands (16USC408g). Isle Royale National Park was established on April 3, 1940, was designated as a Wilderness Area in 1976, and was made an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980. It is a relatively small national park at 894 square miles (2,314 km²), with only 209 square miles (542 km²) above water. At the U.S.-Canada border, it will meet the borders of the future Canadian Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

Human history

The island was once the site of a fishing industry, native copper mining and a resort community. Because numerous small islands surround Isle Royale, ships were once guided through the area by lighthouses at Passage Island, Rock Harbor, Rock of Ages, and Isle Royale Lighthouse on Menagerie Island.

Natural history

Ecology

Isle Royale National Park is known for its wolf and moose populations which are studied by scientists investigating predator-prey relationships in a closed environment. There are usually around 25 wolves and 1000 moose on the island, but the numbers change greatly year to year. In rare years with very hard winters, animals can travel over the frozen lake from the Canadian mainland. To protect the wolves from canine diseases, dogs are not allowed in any part of the park, including the adjacent waters. In the 2006-2007 winter, 385 moose were counted, as well as 21 wolves, in three packs. In spring 2008, 23 wolves and approximately 650 moose were counted

Geology

Isle Royale greenstone (chlorastrolite, a form of pumpellyite) is found here, as well as on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is the official Michigan state gemstone.

Recreation

The Greenstone Ridge is a high ridge in the center of the island and carries the longest trail in the park, the Greenstone Ridge trail, which runs 40 miles (60 km) from one end of the island to the other. This is generally done as a 4 or 5 day hike. A boat shuttle can carry hikers back to their starting port. In total there are 165 miles (265 km) of hiking trails. There are also canoe/kayak routes, many involving portages, along coastal bays and inland lakes.

Services

The park has two developed areas: Windigo, at the southwest end of the island (docking site for the ferries from Minnesota), with a campstore, showers, campsites, and a boat dock; and Rock Harbor on the south side of the northeast end (docking site for the ferries from Michigan), with a campstore, showers, restaurant, lodge, campsites, and a boat dock.

Sleeping accommodations at the park are limited to the lodge at Rock Harbor and 36 designated wilderness campgrounds. Some campgrounds are accessible only by private boat; others in the interior are accessible only by trail or by canoe/kayak on the island lakes. The campsites vary in capacity but typically include a few three-sided wood shelters (the fourth wall is screened) with floors and roofs, and several individual sites suitable for pitching a small tent. Some tent sites with space for groups of up to 10 are available, and are used for overflow if all the individual sites are filled. The only amenities at the campgrounds are pit toilets, picnic tables, and fire-rings at specific areas. Campfires are not permitted at most campgrounds; gas or alcohol camp stoves are recommended. Drinking and cooking water must be drawn from local water sources (Lake Superior and inland lakes) and filtered, treated, or boiled to avoid parasites. Hunting is not permitted, but fishing is, and edible berries (blueberries, thimbleberries) may be picked from the trail.

Soil

Bedrock on Isle Royale is basalt or sandstone and conglomerates on the 1100 million year old Midcontinent Rift. Most of the island is covered with a thin layer of glacial material. A number of small native copper mines were active in the 1800s but mining was never really prosperous. Recent analyses by the USGS of both unmineralized basalt and copper-mineralized rock show that a small amount of naturally-occurring mercury is associated with mineralization.

Access

The park is accessible by floatplane and by ferry during the summer months from Grand Portage, Minnesota, and from Houghton and Copper Harbor in Michigan. Private boats travel to the island mainly from Thunder Bay, Ontario, the closest city to the park.

Isle Royale is not popular with day-trippers because of the scheduling constraints of transportation to and from the park. The ferries that make this voyage have a relatively long transit time, and thus spend only short periods on the island. Some ferries may delay—and in some situations cancel—trips during heavy weather.

The Ranger III is a 165-foot (50 m) ship operated by the National Park Service, said to be the largest piece of equipment in the National Park system. It carries 125 passengers, canoes and kayaks -- even small powerboats -- and operates out of Houghton, Michigan. This is a six-hour voyage from the park, and the ship overnights at the island before returning the next day, making two round trips each week, June to mid-September. The Isle Royale Queen out of Copper Harbor, Michigan, and the Wenonah, out of Grand Portage, Minnesota, operate round-trips daily in peak season, less frequently in early summer and autumn. The Voyageur II, also out of Grand Portage, crosses up to three times a week, overnighting at Rock Harbor and providing transportation between popular lakeside campgrounds. The Voyageur and boat taxi services ferry hikers to points along the island, allowing a one-way hike back to Rock Harbor or Windigo.

For the 2008 season, the Ranger III will carry visitors to/from Windigo on several occasions. This new schedule will allow visitors to park in Houghton, MI while traversing the entire length of the island. Visitors may land at Rock Harbor and depart from Windigo several days later or vice versa. Formerly, visitors would have paid an additional fare to ride the Voyageur II in one direction to do a cross-island hike.

Because of the difficulty of travel and the hazards of wilderness survival during the winter months, it is the only major National Park Service park to close entirely for the season. Because of the relative difficulty reaching the park and its seasonal closing, fewer than 20,000 people a year visit Isle Royale - fewer than the number of people who visit the most popular national parks in a single day.

List of islands

  • Amygdaloid Island - has a ranger station
  • Barnum Island
  • Beaver Island - has a campground
  • Belle Isle - a small island just off the north shore of Isle Royale at the head of Belle Harbor. It is the site of a primitive campground and is visited every second day during the peak season by the island-circling ferry.
  • Caribou Island - has a campground
  • Grace Island - has a campground
  • Johns Island
  • Long Island
  • Menagerie Island - has a lighthouse
  • Mott Island - summer park headquarters
  • Passage Island - has a lighthouse and short trail
  • Raspberry Island - has a nature trail
  • Rock of Ages - has a lighthouse
  • Ryan Island - the largest island in the largest lake on the largest island in the largest freshwater lake in the world
  • Tookers Island - has a campground
  • Washington Island
  • Wright Island

References

External links

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