*Includes accounts and descriptions of the parks
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
The United States is full of natural wonders, but few remain unspoiled by man as much as Yosemite National Park, a 750,000 square acre park near the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Despite being inhabited by people for nearly 3,000 years, the relatively remote spot helped ensure that even as America expanded west, the Yosemite area avoided being settled or exploited like so many other areas on the frontier. Although it is a World Heritage Site and has been visited by millions of people, nearly the entire park remains wilderness, replete with features like waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, mountains, and some of America's most impressive granite cliffs.
Given its natural wonders, it should come as no surprise that the area attracted some of the 19th century's most famous conservationists, including John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt. Muir in particular was instrumental in having Yosemite declared a national park, and he would wax eloquently about the area and the fight to preserve it.
Of course, conservationists weren't the only ones attracted to the region. Yosemite's wide array of diversity ensures that different species of plant and animal life call the area home, and its various climates make it one of America's most unique ecosystems. In fact, dozens of endangered species still reside within the park, and while they are protected to an extent, many are still adversely affected by everything from motor vehicle accidents to forest fires.
Few natural wonders across the world can rival Yellowstone National Park, which is full of features that led Native Americans to believe the land was possessed by spirits and compelled people who heard accounts from white explorers to assume the explorers had suffered hallucinations. Today, of course, all Americans are instantly familiar with the name Old Faithful, and even among those who have never visited the park, Yellowstone is practically synonymous with its geysers.
While Old Faithful and other geysers remain the park's most popular features, Yellowstone offers a vast array of diversity, not only among wildlife but within the land itself. Yellowstone is home to mountains, rivers, canyons, lakes, forests, waterfalls, and North America's largest supervolcano, which remains active underneath Yellowstone Lake. While all of this attracts millions of tourists, Yellowstone is also home to all kinds of animals, from bison to birds, some of which are endangered species protected within the park. Established by President Ulysses S. Grant, Yellowstone is one of America's most ambitious and crucial conservation areas, and nearly 150 years later, officials still try to balance the interests of everyone and everything involved.
Yellowstone & Yosemite: The History of America's Most Famous National Parks traces the history of the regions and the establishment of the parks. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Yellowstone and Yosemite like never before.