- Joshua Tree National Park
Infobox_protected_area | name = Joshua Tree National Park
iucn_category = Ib
locator_x = 34
locator_y = 110
location = Riverside County & San Bernardino County,
nearest_city = Twentynine Palms, San Bernardino
lat_degrees = 33
lat_minutes = 47
lat_seconds = 18.22
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 115
long_minutes = 53
long_seconds = 53.60
long_direction = W
area = 789,745 acres (3,196 km²)
October 31, 1994
visitation_num = 1,256,421
visitation_year = 2006
National Park Service
Joshua Tree National Park is located in south-eastern
California. Declared a U.S. National Parkin 1994, it had previously been a U.S. National Monumentsince 1936. It includes over 1,234 mi² (3,196 km²) of land. A large part of the park is designated to wilderness area; some 914 mi² (2,367 km²). Straddling the San Bernardino County/ Riverside Countyborder, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystemwhose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation. Below 3,000 feet (900 m), the Colorado Desertencompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The Little San Bernardino Mountainsrun through the southwest edge of the park. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desertis the special habitat of the Joshua tree(" Yuccabrevifolia"), from which the park gets its name. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California's deserts. The dominant geologic features of this landscape are hills of bare rock, usually broken up into loose boulders. These hills are popular amongst rock climbingand scramblingenthusiasts. The flatland between these hills is sparsely forested with Joshua trees. Together with the boulder piles and Skull Rock, the trees make the landscape otherworldly. Five Washingtonia fan palm oases in the park are the few areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife abounds.
At least 240 species of birds have been observed in the park. A good place to view wildlife is at Barker Dam, a short hike from a parking area near Hidden Valley.
Desert Bighorn Sheepsometimes stop by the dam for a drink. Tours of the Barker Dam area are available.
Recreation in Joshua Tree National Park
campgrounds exist in the park, only two of which (Black Rock Canyon and Cottonwood) provide water and flush toilets. A fee between $10-15 is charged per night for each camping spot. Backcountrycamping, for those who wish to backpack, is permitted with a few regulations. Campers must park at one of the twelve backcountry boards and leave their car information and camping itinerary. Backcountry campsites must be at least one mile from any road and 500 feet from any trail. Fires are only permitted within the established campgrounds and only in the provided fire rings.
There are several hiking trails within the park, many of which can be accessed from a campground. Shorter trails, such as the one mile hike through Hidden Valley, offer a chance to view the beauty of the park without straying too far into the desert. A section of the California Riding and Hiking Trail meanders for 35 miles through the western side of the park. The lookout point at Keys View, towards the south of the park, offers views of the
Coachella Valleyand Salton Sea. Geology road is a dirt roadin the south of the park which provides a self-guided tour for those visitors with a four-wheel drivevehicle. There are seventy two stops on the tour showcasing the region's geology.
The park is extremely popular with rock climbers (who often refer to it as "JT" if they are locals). It was originally a winter practice area while Yosemite Valley and other parts of the Sierra Nevada were snowbound, but later became an area of interest in its own right. There are thousands of named
climbing routes, at all levels of difficulty. The routes are typically short, the rocks being rarely more than 70 m (230 ft) in height, but access is usually a short, easy walk through the desert, and it's possible to do a number of interesting climbs in a single day. The rocks are all composed of quartz monzonite, a very rough type of granitemade even more so as there is no snow or ice to polish it as in places like Yosemite.
There are over 250
speciesof bird in the park including resident desert birdssuch as the Greater Roadrunnerand Cactus Wrenas well as Mockingbirds, Le Conte's Thrasher, Verdinand Gambel's Quail. There are also many transient species that may spend only one or two seasons in the park. Noted birding spots in the park include: fan palm oases, Barker Dam and Smith water Canyon. Queen Valley and Lost Horse Valley also provide good birding but with a different range of species because of the lack of water. These are often good places to see Ladder-backed Woodpeckerand Oak Titmouse.
*Official site: [http://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm Joshua Tree National Park]
* [http://www.geotimes.org/mar07/article.html?id=Travels0307.html Geologic travel guide] from
American Geological Institute
* [http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/65keys/65keys.htm "“Keys Ranch: Where Time Stood Still”", a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan]
* [http://www.fotinga.com/World/North_America/United_States/California/Joshua_Tree/index_es.html Joshua Tree National Park Photos]
*"Birds", Joshua Tree National Park Association
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
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