The Bryce Canyon National Park in southwestern Utah

The Bryce Canyon National Park in southwestern Utah Culture's Ways

Bryce Canyon National Park is a National Park located in southwestern Utah in the United States. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

 

What is the Bryce Canyon National Park?

Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m).

The Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon became a National Monument in 1923 and was designated as a National Park in 1928. The park covers 35,835 acres (145.02 km2) and receives substantially fewer visitors than Zion National Park (nearly 4.3 million in 2016) or Grand Canyon National Park (nearly 6 million in 2016), largely due to Bryce’s more remote location.

Ecology

More than 400 native plant species live in the park. There are three life zones in the park based on elevation: The lowest areas of the park are dominated by dwarf forests of pinyon pine and juniper with manzanita, serviceberry, and antelope bitterbrush in between. aspen, cottonwood, water birch, and willow grow along streams. Ponderosa pine forests cover the mid-elevations with blue spruce and Douglas fir in water-rich areas and manzanita and bitterbrush as underbrush. Douglas fir and white fir, along with aspen and Engelmann spruce, make up the forests on the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The harshest areas have limber pine and ancient Great Basin bristlecone pine, some more than 1,600 years old, holding on.

The forests and meadows of Bryce Canyon provide the habitat to support diverse animal life including foxes, badgers, porcupines, elk, black bears, bobcats, and woodpeckers. Mule deer are the most common large mammals in the park. Elk and pronghorn, which have been reintroduced nearby, sometimes venture into the park.

Image: Tracy Zhang
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Bryce Canyon National Park.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 Sep. 2017. Web.13 Oct. 2017.

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