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Journeys Through America is a nonprofit organization providing educational material for all school-aged children across the country. The program will form partnerships with local school districts to provide children with a new, interactive, educational experience integrating the history of America and its National Parks. Journeys Through America's goal is to foster a fun and adventurous learning environment that will promote altruistic growth within our children and our greater community.

A National Park…Without it’s Most Impressive Feature?

By Dec 21st 2010 1 Comment »

I would like to make note of a few important issues highlighted by Karianne’s post last week, it’s about…well…you guessed it…global warming.  We’ve all heard about GW – maybe too much – but then again, maybe too much is not enough since we are the cause of it.  Today we are now only learning and realizing the direct effect global warming is having on our national parks.

I truly hate being a bearer of bad news, or even just beating a topic to death, but maybe its best that we identify these issues at present so that we take advantage of what is at our doorstep now (not later) by experiencing the beauty and amazement of our National Parks.

Anyways, today I read an article by Grant Martin in the Tucson Sentinel. The first paragraph goes as such:

“A nine-mile paved loop in the Sonoran Desert outside Tucson is the only evidence of Saguaro National Park, which was shut down after its last surviving cactus was finally suffocated by an invasive grass.”

My reaction…’holy cow..Saguaro was shut down!?!’

Now, before I continue it’s important to note that Saguaro is NOT shut down and is indeed still fully functioning as a National Park.  The article goes on to discuss the impending effects that global warming could have on the state of Arizona given the current and speedy rate at which GW is wreaking havoc on our earth by the close of the century.

However, what I find scary is that that first paragraph is 100% believable – it’s no longer far-fetched or something out of the ordinary. It’s possible…and probable…and that’s frightening.  As a National Park lover I could never imagine what our Park’s would be like without their most notorious features.  As they say will happen (sooner rather than later), Glacier will lose it’s Glaciers – it’s happening right now as we speak at an upsetting rate – those massive mountains of snow are melting.  Now, when GNP no longer is home to glaciers they will not be changing the park name, which has been made very clear, and besides, why would they?  New Hampshire’s distinguished Old Man on the Mountain wasn’t changed to Crumbled Face on the Mountain just because it collapsed.  Glacier will still be Glacier National Park, a place of unimaginable beauty…

…but still…I can’t help but think how inconceivable that thought is.

One day Saguaro may lose all its saguaro cacti to an invasive grass that chokes out the plant population, and Joshua Tree may be home to just those impressive rock formations instead of those impressive rock formations and Joshua trees.  Glacier NP, Mount Rainier and North Cascades may become glacierless, and as Karianne mentioned, the whitebark pine beetles are doing too good of a job at what they do throughout too many of our parks’ forests threatening Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain NP (just to name two).

What we all need to do is re-evaluate ourselves. Think, ‘how can I reduce my impact on the earth? How can I minimize my carbon footprint?’  It only takes just a few small adjustments to make a difference – it may not be visible today – but it will be visible to your grandchildren when they visit Glacier National Park and Grinnell Glacier is still there.

Read these Global Warming Tips to find out how to make a difference – my personal favorite is #7 – Use the “Off” Switch. Use it. Live by It. Make a difference people…for me…for you and for your kids’ kids. They will thank you for it, I promise.

One Response to "A National Park…Without it’s Most Impressive Feature?"

  1. mary ann kelley says:

    thank you girls for bringing this important topic to our attention. keep up the graet work

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