- Bryce Canyon National Park
Infobox_protected_area | name = Bryce Canyon National Park
iucn_category = II
locator_x = 60
locator_y = 82
location = Garfield County and Kane County,
nearest_city = Tropic, Panguitch
lat_degrees = 37
lat_minutes = 34
lat_seconds = 0
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 112
long_minutes = 11
long_seconds = 0
long_direction = W
area = 35,835 acres (145 km²)
established = September 15, 1928
visitation_num = 1,012,563
visitation_year = 2007
National Park Service
Bryce Canyon National Park (pronEng|ˈbraɪs) is a
national parklocated in southwestern Utahin the United States. Contained within the park is Bryce Canyon. Despite its name, this is not actually a canyon, but rather a giant natural amphitheater created by erosionalong the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to its geological structures, called "hoodoos", formed from wind, water, and ice erosion of the river and lakebed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views to visitors. Bryce is at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Parkand the Grand Canyon. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2400 to 2700 m), whereas the south rim of the Grand Canyon sits at 7,000 feet (2100 m) above sea level.
The canyon area was settled by
Mormon pioneersin the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1875. The area around Bryce Canyon became a U.S. National Monumentin 1924 and was designated as a national park in 1928. The park covers 56 mi² (145 km²). The park receives relatively few visitors compared to Zion Canyon and the Grand Canyon, largely due to its remote location. The town of Kanab, Utah, is situated at a central point between these three parks.
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southern
Utahabout convert|50|mi|km northeast and convert|1000|ft|m higher than Zion National Park. The weatherin Bryce Canyon is therefore cooler, and the park receives more precipitation. A nearby example, very similar to Bryce Canyon but at a higher elevation, is in Cedar Breaks National Monument.
The national park lies within the
Colorado Plateaugeographic province of North America and straddles the southeastern edge of the Paunsagunt Plateauwest of the Paunsagunt Fault ("Paunsagunt" is Paiutefor "home of the beaver"). Park visitors arrive from the plateau part of the park and look over the plateau's edge toward a valley containing the fault and the Paria Riverjust beyond it ("Paria" is Paiute for "muddy or elk water"). The edge of the Kaiparowits Plateaubounds the opposite side of the valley.
Bryce Canyon was not formed from
erosioninitiated from a central stream, meaning it technically is not a canyon. Instead headward erosionhas excavated large amphitheater-shaped features in the Cenozoic-aged rocks of the Paunsagunt Plateau. This erosion exposed delicate and colorful pinnacles called hoodoos that are up to 200 feet (60 m) high. A series of amphitheaters extend more than 20 miles (30 km) within the park. The largest is Bryce Amphitheater, which is 12 miles (19 km) long, 3 miles (5 km) wide and 800 feet (240 m) deep.
The highest part of the park at 9,115 feet (2,775 m), Rainbow Point, is at the end of this scenic drive. From there,
Aquarius Plateau, Bryce Amphitheater, the Henry Mountains, the Vermilion Cliffsand the White Cliffs can be seen. Cope Canyon, where it exits the park in the north-east section, is the lowest part of the park at 6,600 feet (2,011 m).
Native American habitation
Little is known about early human habitation in the Bryce Canyon area. Archaeological surveys of Bryce Canyon National Park and the
Paunsaugunt Plateaushow that people have been in the area for at least 10,000 years. Basketmaker-period Anasaziartifacts several thousand years old have been found south of the park. Other artifacts from the Pueblo-period Anasazi and the Fremont culture (up to the mid-12th century) have also been found.
PaiuteIndians moved into the surrounding valleys and plateaus in the area around the same time that the other cultures left. These Native Americans hunted and gathered for most of their food, but also supplemented their diet with some cultivated products. The Paiute in the area developed a mythology surrounding the hoodoos (pinnacles) in Bryce Canyon. They believed that hoodoos were the Legend People whom the trickster Coyote turned to stone. At least one older Paiute said his culture called the hoodoos "Anka-ku-was-a-wits", which is Paiute for "red painted faces".
White exploration and settlement
It was not until the late 18th and the early 19th century that the first Caucasians explored the remote and hard to reach area. Mormon scouts visited the area in the 1850s to gauge its potential for agricultural development, use for
grazing, and settlement.
The first major scientific expedition to the area was led by U.S. Army Major
John Wesley Powellin 1872. Powell, along with a team of mapmakers and geologists, surveyed the Sevier and Virgin Riverarea as part of a larger survey of the Colorado Plateaus. His mapmakers kept many of the Paiute place names.
Small groups of Mormon pioneers followed and attempted to settle east of Bryce Canyon along the
Paria River. In 1873 the Kanarra Cattle Company started to use the area for cattlegrazing. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintssent Scottish immigrant Ebenezer Bryce and his wife Mary to settle land in the Paria Valley because they thought his carpentry skills would be useful in the area. The Bryce family chose to live right below Bryce Canyon Amphitheater. Bryce grazed his cattle inside what are now park borders, and reputedly thought that the amphitheaters were a "helluva place to lose a cow." He also built a road to the plateau to retrieve firewood and timber, and a canalto irrigate his crops and water his animals. Other settlers soon started to call the unusual place "Bryce's canyon", which was later formalized into Bryce Canyon.
A combination of
drought, overgrazingand flooding eventually drove the remaining Paiutes from the area and prompted the settlers to attempt construction of a water diversion channel from the Sevier River drainage. When that effort failed, most of the settlers, including the Bryce family, left the area. Bryce moved his family to Arizonain 1880. The remaining settlers did manage to dig a 10 mile (16 km) long ditch from the Sevier's east fork into Tropic Valley.
Creation of the park
thumb|left|Thor's Hammer formationPeople like Forest Supervisor J. W. Humphrey promoted the scenic wonders of Bryce Canyon's amphitheaters, and by 1918 nationally distributed articles also helped to spark interest. However, poor access to the remote area and the lack of accommodations kept visitation to a bare minimum.
Ruby Syrett, Harold Bowman and the Perry brothers later built modest lodging, and set up "touring services" in the area. Syrett later served as the first
postmasterof Bryce Canyon. Visitation steadily increased, and by the early 1920s the Union Pacific Railroadbecame interested in expanding rail service into southwestern Utah to accommodate more tourists.At the same time, conservationists became alarmed by the damage overgrazingand loggingon the plateau, along with unregulated visitation, were having on the fragile features of Bryce Canyon. A movement to have the area protected was soon started, and National Park ServiceDirector Stephen Matherresponded by proposing that Bryce Canyon be made into a state park. The governor of Utahand the Utah Legislature, however, lobbied for national protection of the area. Mather relented and sent his recommendation to President Warren G. Harding, who on June 8, 1923 declared Bryce Canyon National Monument into existence.
A road was built the same year on the plateau to provide easy access to outlooks over the amphitheaters. From 1924 to 1925,
Bryce Canyon Lodgewas built from local timber and stone.
In 1924, members of U.S. Congress decided to start work on upgrading Bryce Canyon's protection status from a
U.S. National Monumentto a National Park to establish Utah National Park. A process of transferring ownership of private and state-held land in the monument to the federal government started, the Utah Parks Companynegotiating much of the transfer. The last of the land in the proposed park's borders was sold to the federal government four years later, and on February 25, 1928, the renamed Bryce Canyon National Park was established.
In 1931, President
Herbert Hooverannexed an adjoining area south of the park, and in 1942 an additional 635 acres (2.57 km²) was added. This brought the park's total area to the current figure of 35,835 acres (145.02 km²). Rim Road, the scenic drive that is still used today, was completed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Administration of the park was conducted from neighboring Zion Canyon National Parkuntil 1956, when Bryce Canyon's first superintendent started work.
More recent history
The USS "Bryce Canyon" was named for the park and served as a supply and repair ship in the U.S. Pacific Fleet from September 15, 1950, to June 30, 1981.
Bryce Canyon Natural History Association(BCNHA) was established in 1961. It runs the bookstore inside the park visitor center and is a non-profit organization created to aid the interpretive, educational and scientific activities of the National Park Service, at Bryce Canyon National Park. A portion of the profits from all bookstore sales are donated to public land units. Since BCNHA's inception in 1961, donations have exceeded $3.5 million.
Responding to increased visitation and
traffic congestion, the National Park Serviceimplemented a voluntary, summer-only, in-park shuttle system in June 2000. In 2004, reconstruction began on the aging and inadequate road system in the park.
The Bryce Canyon area shows a record of deposition that spans from the last part of the
Cretaceousperiod and the first half of the Cenozoicera. The ancient depositional environment of region around what is now the park varied:
Dakota Sandstoneand the Tropic Shale were deposited in the warm, shallow waters of the advancing and retreating Cretaceous Seaway(outcrops of these rocks are found just outside park borders).
Claron Formationthat the park's delicate hoodoos are carved from was laid down as sediments in a system of cool streams and lakes that existed from 63 to about 40 million years ago (from the Paleoceneto the Eoceneepochs). Different sediment types were laid down as the lakes deepened and became shallow and as the shoreline and river deltas migrated.
Several other formations were also created but were mostly eroded away following two major periods of uplift:
Laramide orogenyaffected the entire western part of what would become North America starting about 70 million years ago and lasting for many millions of years after. This event helped to build the ancestral Rocky Mountainsand in the process closed the Cretaceous Seaway. The Straight Cliffs, Wahweap, and Kaiparowits formations were victims of this uplift.
Colorado Plateaus were uplifted 10 to 15 million years ago and were segmented into different plateaus — each separated from its neighbors by faults and each having its own uplift rate. The Boat Mesa Conglomerate and the Sevier River Formation were removed following this uplift.
, walls, and windows. Hoodoos are composed of soft sedimentary rock and are topped by a piece of harder, less easily eroded stone that protects the column from the elements. Bryce Canyon has one of the highest concentrations of hoodoos of any place on Earth.
The formations exposed in the area of the park are part of the
Grand Staircase. The oldest members of this supersequence of rock units are exposed in the Grand Canyon, the intermediate ones in Zion National Park, and its youngest parts are laid bare in Bryce Canyon area. A small amount of overlap occurs in and around each park.
forests and meadows of Bryce Canyon provide the habitat to support diverse animal life, from birds and small mammals to foxes and occasional bobcats, mountain lions, and black bears. Mule deerare the most common large mammals in the park. Elkand pronghorn antelope, which have been reintroduced nearby, sometimes venture into the park. More than 160 species of birds visit the park each year, including swifts and swallows.
Most bird species migrate to warmer regions in winter, but
jays, ravens, nuthatches, eagles, and owls stay. In winter, the mule deer, mountain lion, and coyotes will migrate to lower elevations. Ground squirrels and marmots pass the winter in hibernation.There are three life zones in the park based on elevation:
*The lowest areas of the park are dominated by dwarf forests of
pinyon pineand juniperwith manzanita, serviceberry, and antelope bitterbrushin between. Aspen cottonwoods, Water Birch, and willowgrow in along streams.
Ponderosa Pineforests cover the mid-elevations with Blue Spruceand Douglas-firin water-rich areas and manzanita and bitterbrush as underbrush.
Douglas-firand White Fir, along with Aspen and Engelmann Spruce, make up the forests on the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The harshest areas have Limber Pineand ancient Great Basin Bristlecone Pineholding on.
Also in the park are the black, lumpy, very slow-growing colonies of
cryptobiotic soil, which are a mix of lichens, algae, fungi, and cyanobacteria. Together these organisms slow erosion, add nitrogento soiland help it to retain moisture.
While humans have greatly reduced the amount of habitat that is available to wildlife in most parts of the United States, the relative scarcity of water in southern Utah restricts human development and helps account for the region's greatly enhanced diversity of wildlife.
Most park visitors sightsee using the 18 mile (29 km) scenic drive, which provides access to 13 viewpoints over the amphitheaters.
Bryce Canyon has eight marked and maintained
hikingtrails that can be hiked in less than a day (round trip time, trailhead):
* Mossy Cave (one hour, State Route 12 northwest of Tropic), Rim Trail (5–6 hours, anywhere on rim), Bristlecone Loop (one hour, Rainbow Point), and Queens Garden (1–2 hours, Sunrise Point) are easy to moderate hikes.
* Navajo Loop (1–2 hours, Sunset Point) and Tower Bridge (2–3 hours, north of Sunrise Point) are moderate hikes.
* Fairyland Loop (4–5 hours, Fairyland Point) and Peekaboo Loop (3–4 hours, Bryce Point) are strenuous hikes. Several of these trails intersect, allowing hikers to combine routes for more challenging hikes.
The park also has two trails designated for overnight hiking: the 9 mile (14 km) long Riggs Loop Trail and the 23 mile (37 km) long Under the Rim Trail. Both require a backcountry camping permit. In total there are 50 miles (80 km) of trails in the park.
More than 10 miles (16 km) of marked but ungroomed
skiingtrails are available off of Fairyland, Paria, and Rim trails in the park. Twenty miles (32 km) of connecting groomed ski trails are in nearby Dixie National Forestand Ruby's Inn.
The air in the area is so clear that on most days from Yovimpa and Rainbow points,
Navajo Mountainand the Kaibab Plateau can be seen 90 miles (140 km) away in Arizona. On a really clear day the Black Mesas of eastern Arizona and western New Mexicocan be seen some 200 miles (320 km) away. The park also has a 7.3 magnitude night sky, making it the one of the darkest in North America. Stargazers can therefore see 7500 stars with the naked eye, while in most places fewer than 2000 can be seen due to light pollution(in many large cities only a few dozen can be seen). Park rangers host several public stargazing events and evening programs on astronomy, nocturnal animals, and night sky protection. The Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival, typically held in June, attracts thousands of visitors. In honor of this astronomy festival, Asteroid 49272 was named after the national park. [cite web| url=http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/lists/NumberedMPs045001.html| title=Discovery Circumstances: Numbered Minor Planets (45001)-(50000)| author=IAU: Minor Planet Center| accessmonthday=May 22 | accessyear=2007| ]
There are two campgrounds in the park, North Campground and Sunset Campground. Loop A in North Campground is open year-round. Additional loops and Sunset Campground are open from late spring to early autumn. The 114-room
Bryce Canyon Lodgeis another way to overnight in the park.
A favorite activity of most visitors is landscape photography. With Bryce Canyon's high altitude and clean air, the sunrise and sunset photographs can be spectacular.
*"Geology of National Parks: Fifth Edition", Ann G. Harris, Esther Tuttle, Sherwood D., Tuttle (Iowa, Kendall/Hunt Publishing; 1997) ISBN 0-7872-5353-7
*"Secrets in The Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks: Third Edition", Lorraine Salem Tufts (North Palm Beach, Florida; National Photographic Collections; 1998) ISBN 0-9620255-3-4
*"The Hoodoo", National Park Service, Fall, Winter, Spring 2003–2004 edition
*Bryce Canyon visitors guide, National Park Service (some public domain text in the biology section)
* [http://www.americanparknetwork.com/parkinfo/bc/index.html American Park Network: Bryce Canyon] — [http://www.americanparknetwork.com/parkinfo/bc/flora/index.html Flora and Fauna] , [http://www.americanparknetwork.com/parkinfo/bc/pres/index.html Preservation]
*DeCourten, Frank. 1994. "Shadows of Time, the Geology of Bryce Canyon National Park". Bryce Canyon Natural History Association.
*Kiver, Eugene P., Harris, David V. 1999. "Geology of U.S. Parklands 5th ed". John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
*Sprinkel, Douglas A., Chidsey, Thomas C. Jr., Anderson, Paul B. 2000. "Geology of Utah's Parks and Monuments". Publishers Press.
* [http://www.nps.gov/brca/ Bryce Canyon] National Park Service Info / US Department of the Interior.
* [http://www.nps.gov/history/NR/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/64bryce/64bryce.htm "Bryce Canyon National Park: Hoodoos Cast Their Spell," a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan]
* [http://www.brycecanyon.org Bryce Canyon Natural History Association]
* [http://www.brycecanyoncountry.com/ Bryce Canyon Country] Garfield County Tourism Office
* [http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/64bryce/64bryce.htm Bryce Canyon National Park: Hoodoos Cast Their Spell] : a lesson about Bryce Canyon National Park.
* [http://brycecanyonhalfmarathon.com/ Bryce Canyon Half Marathon] July Festival and Race through scenic Bryce Canyon
* [http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=37.58333&lon=-112.21667 Topographic map]
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Look at other dictionaries:
Bryce Canyon National Park — Bryce Canyon Nationalpark Erosionsformen im Bryce Canyon … Deutsch Wikipedia
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Bryce Canyon National Park — Bryce′ Can′yon Na′tional Park′ n. geg a national park in SW Utah: colorful rock formations … From formal English to slang
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