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What are some facts about Chaco Culture National Historical Park?

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Quick Answer

The Chaco Culture National Historical Park houses the remains of Pueblo cities and dwellings built between 850 and 1250. As one of the few parks certified as an International Dark Sky Park, it allows for views unobstructed by man-made light.

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Full Answer

The park is located in the Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. This high desert terrain receives very little rainfall and has long winters. The canyon valley once served as a center of Pueblo culture. Though known to have been a place of residence for the "great houses" of the Pueblo culture, as of 2015, historians still do not have a clear understanding of what kind of social and economic activity took place in the canyon.

The park also provides a protected area for wildlife and contains bobcats, elk, deer, badgers and porcupines, among many other types of animals. Scientific research often takes place in the park and consists of fossil inventories, native plant surveys, annual bird counts and rock monitoring. Pinyon-juniper woodlands and riparian with cottonwood and willow are among the types of vegetation the park is known for.

The park has a main trail consisting of a nine-mile loop as well as four backcountry hiking trails. These trails present hikers with both challenging terrain and beautiful views of the landscape.

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