14th November 2013 Zion National Park

14 November 2013

Although Zion national park is one of the smaller parks, it makes up in beauty. When people were recommending places to visit en route one of the names that came up on a repeated basis was Zion...... Now I can see why. Driving through the park you will notice the red sandstone as the road cuts it way through tunnels and into the canyon where you will just see why some people say it's Americas most beautiful national park. 

 

Zion National Park  is located in theSouthwestern United States , nearSpringdale, Utah . A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile (590 km 2 ) park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, cut through the reddish and tan-coloredNavajo Sandstone  by the North Fork of theVirgi River . The lowest elevation is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest elevation is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain. Located at the junction of theColorado Plateau ,  Great Basin , andMojave Desert  regions, the park's uniquegeography  and variety oflife zones  allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species ofbat ), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park's four life zones:  desert ,  riparian ,  woodland , andconiferous forest . Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas,  monoliths , rivers,  slot canyons , andnatural arches . 

Human habitation of the area started about 8,000 years ago with small family groups ofNative Americans; the semi-nomadicBasketmakerAnsazi (300 CE) stem from one of these groups. In turn, theVirgin Anasazi culture (500 CE) developed as the Basketmakers settled in permanent communities.  A different group, theParowan Fremont, lived in the area as well. Both groups moved away by 1300 and were replaced by the Parrusits and several otherSouthern Paiutesubtribes.  Mormons came into the area in 1858 and settled there in the early 1860s. In 1909, U.S. PresidentWilliam Howard Taft named the area a National Monument to protect the canyon, under the name of Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 1918, however, the acting director of the newly createdNational Park Service changed the park's name to Zion. According to historianHal Rothman, "The name change played to a prevalent bias of the time. Many believed that Spanish and Indian names would deter visitors who, if they could not pronounce the name of a place, might not bother to visit it. The new name, Zion, had greater appeal to an ethnocentric audience."   TheUnited States Congress established the monument as a National Park on November 19, 1919. The Kolob section was proclaimed a separate Zion National Monument in 1937, but was incorporated into the park in 1956. 

Thegeology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area includes 9formations that together represent 150 million years of mostlyMesozoic-agedsedimentation. At various periods in that time warm, shallow seas, streams, ponds and lakes, vast deserts, and dry near-shore environments covered the area. Uplift associated with the creation of theColorado Plateaus lifted the region 10,000 feet (3,000 m) starting 13 million years ago.