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SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK

Why is the park called Shenandoah National Park?

Shenandoah National Park lies astride a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge, which forms the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains between Pennsylvania and Georgia. In the valley to the west is the Shenandoah River, from which the parks gets its name, and between the north and south forks of the river is Massanutten, a 40-mile-long mountain. To the east is the rolling Piedmont country. Providing vistas of the spectacular landscape is Skyline Drive, a winding road that runs along the Blue Ridge through the length of the park.

When did the first people inhabit this land?

Most of the rocks that form the Blue Ridge are ancient granitic and metamorphosed volcanic formations, some exceeding one billion years in age. By comparison, humans have been associated with this land only about 9,000 years. Primitive food gatherers and, later, Indian hunters used the land for centuries but left little evidence of their presence. Settlements of the Shenandoah Valley began soon after the first expedition crossed the Blue Ridge in 1716. Many of the settlers came “up river”, north to south, from Pennsylvania. By 1800, the lowlands had been settled by farmers, while the rugged mountains were still relatively untouched. Later, as valley farmland became scarce, settlement spread into the mountains. The mountain farmers cleared land, hunted wildlife, and grazed sheep and cattle. By the 20th century, these people had developed a culture of their own, born from the harshness and isolation of mountain living. However, the forests were shrinking, game animals were disappearing, the thin mountain soil was wearing out, and people were beginning to leave.

When was Shenandoah National Park established?

In 1926 Congress authorized the establishment of Shenandoah National Park. The Commonwealth of Virginia then purchased nearly 280 square miles of land to be donated to the Federal Government. More than half of the population had left the mountain area, and the remaining residents sold their land or were relocated with government assistance. In dedicating the park in 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated a novel experiment in returning an overused area to its original natural beauty. Recreational facilities were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and in 1939 Skyline Drive was completed. Croplands and pastures soon became overgrown with shrubs, locusts, and pine; these in turn were replaced by oak, hickory, and other trees that make up a mature deciduous forest. Now, more than 95 percent of the park is covered by forests with about 100 species of trees. The vegetative regeneration has been so complete that in 1976 Congress designated two-fifth of the park as wilderness. The largest remaining open area is Big Meadows, which is being kept in its historically open condition by management fire. Here, the abundance of wildflowers, strawberries, and blueberries attract both wildlife and humans.

What are the permanent and rare residents of Shenandoah National Park?



Deer, bear, bobcat, turkey and other animals that were formerly rare or absent have now returned. Deer and such smaller animals as chipmunk, raccoon, skunk, opossum, and gray squirrel are frequently seen. Bear are found mostly in backcountry areas but are occasionally spotted elsewhere. About 200 species of birds have been recorded. A few, such as ruffed grouse, barred owl, raven, woodpeckers, and junco, are permanent residents. Many more are seen during the warmer months. The park is home to several species of salamanders, and two poisonous snakes, the timber rattlesnake and the copperhead, are occasionally reported, as are several harmless species.

What can you admire in the park?

Whatever time of the year you are here, many new sights and discoveries await you. Between the Skyline Drive and the park boundaries are ridges and valleys, hills and hollows, laced with sparkling streams and waterfalls. Trails take you into the forest of Shenandoah where you can see plants and animals and experience the beauty and peace of this vast recycled land.

What recreation activities does Shenandoah National Park provide for its visitors?

By far the greatest number of people enjoy Shenandoah’s scenic beauty from the 105-mile long Skyline Drive along the Blue Ridge. Numerous parking overlooks present panoramas of the Piedmont to the east and Shenandoah Valley to the west. Park visitor centres provide information services, interpretative exhibits, and illustrated programmes. Naturalist programmes, consisting of evening programmes and campfire talks, hikes, and demonstrations, are offered at several locations; so are self-guiding nature trails with interpretative signs. Family campgrounds and picnic grounds are also provided, having tables, fire-places, drinking fountains, and comfort stations. Accommodations include overnight lodging and restaurants, cottages can be rented. Food service, gift shops, service stations, and facilities for campers – such as grocery and camping supply stores, laundry, and ice and wood dales – are at various points along Skyline Drive. Horseback trips are offered at Skyland Lodge and wagon rides at Big Meadows Lodge. Trails totalling more than 500miles make much of the park accessible to hikers. The trails vary in length from short leg-stretchers to 95-mile segments of the Appalachian Trail that runs the entire length of the park. Fishing for native brook trout provides a challenge to those who are willing to hike to streams in the park.

Shenandoah National Park is your park; please take time to enjoy it and to discover some of its many secrets beyond the Drive.

(Shenandoah NP, Va, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior, 1996)

B) Correspond the facts with the following numbers: 40-mile-long / one billion / 1716 / 1800 / 280 square miles / 1936 / 95% / 100 species / two-fifth / 200 species / 500 miles / 95-mile segments

 

14. Read the text about National parks of England and Wales. Make up the review of the text.


Date: 2016-04-22; view: 235


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