Monday, January 23, 2012

TOP FIVE MOST VISITED NATIONAL PARKS

Have you ever been in a National park? A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Listed below are five of the most visited National parks in the world (though) most of them are in US actually. National Parks also serve as country's main attraction. The list was taken from NationalGeographic.com.

TOP FIVE MOST VISITED NATIONAL PARKS

TOP 5 MOST VISITED NATIONAL PARK
"ROCKY MOUNTAIN"


The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 3,000 miles (4,830 km) from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States. The Rocky Mountains were formed from 80 million to 55 million years ago by the Laramide orogeny. Since then, erosion by water and glaciers have sculpted the mountain range into dramatic valleys and peaks. At the end of the last ice age, humans started to inhabit the mountain range. Currently, much of the mountain range is protected by public parks and forest lands, and is a popular tourist destination, especially for hiking, camping, mountaineering, fishing, hunting, skiing, and snowboarding.

TOP 4 MOST VISITED NATIONAL PARK
"YELLOWSTONE"


Yellowstone, widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is dominant. The vast forests and grasslands also include unique species of plants. Yellowstone Park is the largest and most famous megafauna location in the Continental United States. Grizzly Bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk live in the park. The Yellowstone Park Bison Herd is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States. Forest fires occur in the park each year; in the large forest fires of 1988, nearly one third of the park was burnt. Yellowstone has numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, boating, fishing and sightseeing.


TOP 3 MOST VISITED NATIONAL PARK
"YOSEMITE"

Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral/oak woodland, lower montane, upper montane, subalpine, and alpine. The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granitic rocks and remnants of older rock. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in formation of deep, narrow canyons.


TOP 2 MOST VISITED NATIONAL PARK
"GRAND CANYON"

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States in the state of Arizona. It is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Nearly two billion years of the Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. Most visitors to the park come to the South Rim, arriving on Arizona State Route 64. The Highway enters the park through the South Entrance, near Tusayan, Arizona, and heads eastward, leaving the park through the East Entrance. Grand Canyon National Park became a national park in 1919. So famous is this landmark to modern Americans that it seems surprising that it took more than thirty years for it to become a national park. The Grand Canyon, including its extensive system of tributary canyons, is valued for its combination of large size, depth, and the exposed layering of colorful rocks dating back to Precambrian times.


THE MOST VISITED NATIONAL PARK
"SMOKEY MOUNTAINS"



Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a United States National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. It encompasses 814 square miles (2,110 km2), making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. The main park entrances are located along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) at the towns of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina. It was the first national park whose land and other costs were paid for in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major tourist attraction in the region. Over 9 million tourists and 11 million non-recreational visitors traveled to the park in 2003, twice as many as visited any other national park. The park has a number of historical attractions. The most well-preserved of these (and most popular) is Cades Cove, a valley with a number of preserved historic buildings including log cabins, barns, and churches. Cades Cove is the single most frequented destination in the national park. Self-guided automobile and bicycle tours offer the many sightseers a glimpse into the way of life of old-time southern Appalachia.

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