North America

Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is located in Colorado. Almost 250,000 visitors a year do not miss the natural spectacle of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. On an area of ​​164 km², the relatively young national park, founded on September 13, 2004, has a lot to offer nature lovers and lovers of sandy areas. See a2zdirectory for tourist attractions in Colorado.

History of the Sandy
National Park

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is a protected area in the southern part of the state of Colorado. The impressive sand dunes make the park so unique. The sand basin lies in an area up to 60 kilometers wide. The dunes reach a height of up to 230 meters and are the highest sand mountains in North America.

These dunes are around 12,000 years old. The Rio Grande and some of its tributaries flowed in this area at that time. They gradually deposited sand and then dried up. That left these enormous sand dunes. Now the millennia have done the rest. Winds drove the sand from the riverbank through the valleys. The sand was deposited on the east side of the Sangre de Cristo Range. The mountains caught the speed of the wind. So the stones and grains of sand could collect. This process is still ongoing. What happened thousands of years ago is still happening today. The dunes change their shape every day.

The remaining rivers soak the sand with water, which becomes too heavy to be transported by the wind. The moisture pulls through from the bottom to the top. Even at the highest point of the dunes, you can still feel the moisture in the sand.

Scientists recognized the problem: If the rivers and streams on the dunes would dry up, the dunes would also disappear, as they would become lighter again with the loss of water. So the wind could scatter the grains of sand again. So the water supply was secured by defining the increased protection status of the national park in 2000.

A particularly beautiful natural spectacle is offered to visitors to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Medano Creek. The stream, in the immediate vicinity of the visitor center, is constantly supplied with fresh sand. Due to the steady trickling in of the sand, the river cannot form a solid river bed. Small dunes and dams form underwater again and again. These then break down again and again, which makes a great picture. Compared to the large dunes, which are really large at 230 meters high, the “underwater dunes” are only up to 30 centimeters high. Which, however, is quite neat when viewed up close.

The then US President Bill Clinton passed the law to establish the Great Sand Dunes National Park on November 22, 2000. This was later enlarged. The current form of the park was opened on September 13, 2004 and has officially been called the Great Sand Dunes National Park ever since.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. Located in the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, it receives an incredible 9.2 million visitors annually. On an impressive area of ​​2,109 km² you will find everything a national park can offer in the national park founded on June 15, 1934.

The Appalachians are home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. UNESCO is also impressed by the area of ​​the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and named it a World Heritage Site !

The forest is particularly noteworthy. It is not a simple forest, but one of the oldest forests on this planet and at the same time the largest jungle area in the east of America.

History of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Cherokee Indians were the first to colonize the area of ​​today’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They gave the fog, which is often encountered here, the name Shalonage, which in German means something like the place of the blue fog.
The first European settlers came to the area in the 18th century. Then President Andrew Jackson signed the so-called Indian Removal Act for this area in 1830 and so the Cherokee were unceremoniously relocated from their homeland to other federal areas. The people gave this partly brutal resettlement campaign the name Trail of Tears, which means path of tears in German.
A few Cherokee refused to leave and stayed. The renegade warrior Tsali led the Indians. They used the area of ​​today’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park as their hiding place. They hid successfully because there are still descendants of them who live in the park in the Qualla Indian reservation.

However, the spread of European settlers also had advantages for the region. A prosperous timber industry developed around the 19th century. The region prospered and gained wealth after the construction of the railway line allowed them to move the wood. So they were able to sell the wood to other, more distant areas.

Locals watched the goings-on with their hearts bleeding and quickly realized what the result of the deforestation would be. Some locals raised money to maintain the forest areas. In 1926, with funds from many sponsors, a sufficient amount of money was collected to buy the area. So the factories could be closed and the settlers had to evacuate the land.
This time they were the displaced.

The plants in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There are vast areas of forest in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Five different types of forest are found here. More than 130 different tree species and an additional 4000 different plant species thrive here. From spruce and fir forests to deciduous, pine and oak forests, you can find everything here. Even hemlocks and trees known in Europe such as linden, maple, horse chestnut and birch are at home in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Animals in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Over 60 different species of mammals live in the area of ​​the park. The black bear is particularly common here. It is strongly represented with 1,800 specimens of its kind and at the same time the symbol of the park.

Red wolves also live in the park. White-tailed deer, marmots and the golden chipmunks and gray squirrels also cavort here. Various species of field mouse can also be found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There are around 240 species of birds, 59 species of fish and around 80 different species of reptiles with numerous species of salamanders. Due to the diversity of salamanders, the park has been nicknamed the “Salamander Capital of the World”.

Great Sand Dunes National Park