As climate change becomes increasingly influential on the environments and ecosystems around our world, it has become important to know where you can find places in which you can truly appreciate nature. National parks provide you with the chance to take in the unique landscapes created by Earth’s natural processes which could hopefully instill in you a motivation to do your part in keeping these feats of nature clean and healthy. Throughout this blog, I will be examining the many lifeforms and landmarks in specific national parks, and I will detail any environmental damage caused to the area by human activities. These parks represent some of the most scenic places in the United States and the world, and appreciating them is a large step towards ensuring that these areas are kept beautiful.
Up first on the list is Yosemite National Park in California. Yosemite’s landscape has been taken in by many, starting with the Ahwahneechee Native American tribe that lived there for generations. The Europeans followed in the mid-1800s, but visitation to the parks remained fairly low until the early-1900s when the Yosemite Valley Railroad was built and eased the journey. This increased visitation and began the progress that has led to the roughly four-million people that enter the park’s gates annually today.
Yosemite’s forests and rivers are teeming with all kinds of animal and plant life that play an interconnected role in keeping their ecosystem healthy. American black bears, Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, mule deer, bobcats, and coyotes are only a fraction of the wildlife that constitute this national park. Each animal plays a crucial role in the ecosystem, such as the bobcats’ controlling of rodent populations in the park. If influenced on any level by human activity, this ecosystem could sustain a large amount of damage.
Gorgeously scenic attractions throughout Yosemite serve as the reason many people make the journey to this national park. Anywhere you look, you are sure see some naturally formed masterpiece that has been in the making for thousands of years. Among these attractions is Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in North America and sixth highest in the world. Besides other waterfalls, you can also see the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in which sequoia trees over 3.000 years old live. The many amazing sights available in this national park show how incredible nature can be and why an honest effort should be made to protect these areas.
While this national park appears appears to be extremely healthy on the surface, a plethora of human-driven environmental problems influence Yosemite continuously. Invasive species, introduced to the area by humans, like the New Zealand mud snail create problems in the ecosystem by completely covering stream beds. Soundscape disruption is another problem, as increased noise from people can change wildlife behavior. Along with these environmental issues, air pollution and wildfires are also prominent concerns in the park.
By making a conscious effort to be more environmentally friendly with our use of resources and attempting to keep national park areas healthy, we can ensure that these landmarks are available to be enjoyed by generations to come.