Sunday, April 28, 2013

California's National Parks

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA

National Parks…..preserving nature’s beauty….testifying God’s greatest artistry that can never be equaled. The greatest art piece is not man-made, but is living in extreme fragility in the great outdoors, our NATURAL MUSEUMS. 

A National Park is a park that is established for conservation purposes. It reserves and preserves natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Though different nations may designate their national parks differently, but they all have one common idea: the conservation of wild nature for posterity and as a symbol of national pride. The United States established the first known National Park designated for conservation purposes: Yellowstone National Park, in 1872. There are only 58 National Parks in the US, but there are about 400 parks maintained by the National Park Service either as National Monument, National Historic Site, National Natural Landmarks, etc.

The 58 National Parks in the US are mostly concentrated in the West, with California ( 9 National Parks) and Alaska ( 8 National Parks) holding the most number. In this post, I will share California's National Parks, linking them to my previous posts that shares how we experienced the park. 

Here are California's National Parks:

1. Channel Islands National Park, off Oxnard and Ventura Harbor
Most of Channel Islands National Park is underwater, preserving the rich natural resources of the Pacific. It encompasses 5 islands. This is the very first National Park I have experienced, and I must say, after that first visit, my heart was held captive by National Parks. I feel so thankful for these places that reserve, conserve and protect our natural resources. I promised to myself that Channel Islands National Park will not be the last National Park I will visit. From then on, whenever I planned for vacation, it is to explore our greatest museums, the National Parks. To learn more about this park, please visit my previous post here.

2. Death Valley National Park, Eastern Sierra 
 Mesquite Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park
Amidst scarce vegetation, the beauty of Death Valley does not speak of its name, but a deep peacefulness and solitude. Its contrasting topography, diverse geology and rugged beauty so immense, so peaceful, and so different are really something to see. For more about Death Valley National Park, please visit my post here

3. Joshua Tree National Park, near Palm Springs
Joshua Tree National Park was established to preserve these grotesque trees and also the 501 archaeological sites, 88 historic structures, 19 cultural landscapes and houses 123,253 items in its museum collection.

4. Lassen Volcanic National Park, in Mineral, CA ( Redding is the closest big city )
summer at Lake Helen and Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
Whenever I think of Lassen Volcanic National Park, I think of Fire and Ice in one. It is home to smoking fumaroles, meadows filled with wildflowers, beautiful mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. The picture of Manzanita Lake above is from this park.

5. Kings Canyon National Park, adjacent to Sequoia National Park

Kings Canyon National Park is a wide glacial valley featuring tall cliffs, a meandering river, green vibrant meadows and waterfalls. Together with Sequoia National Park, this was established to preserve the most gigantic trees on Earth.

6.  Pinnacles National Park
 Pinnacles National Park preserves the remains of an ancient volcanic field. The park is home to massive monoliths, spires, sheer walled canyons and talus caves that defines millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement. 

7. Redwoods National and State Parks, in Crescent City, CA
Though Redwood National Park is named after the tree it reserves, conserves and protects, but the park is definitely not just about this amazing tallest trees on Earth at all. Being a redwood forest right next to the coast, the Park also conserves marine life and ancient ferns in Fern canyon whose ancestry trace back some 325 million years ago. 

8. Sequoia National Park, east of Visalia, CA
Sequoia National Park is the second oldest National Park, after Yellowstone National Park, in the country. It is home to the giant sequoias, the reason for the preservation of this another biological and geological wonderland must see.

9. Yosemite National Park
 Half Dome, Liberty Cap and Nevada Falls from John Muir Trail
Probably California's most popular National Park and one of the more renowned National Parks in the world. The park is best known for its numerous waterfalls, but within the park are deep valleys, beautiful meadows, giant sequoias,  and vast wilderness.

Want to see most of California's National Parks in one single road trip? It may be hard, though doable, but we have not done it. However, we did a Sierra Nevada Road trip which explores 3 or 4 National Parks.

Our beautiful world is for us to discover and explore, let me again end this post saying, 

It's always a joy to be OUT.

No nature's beauty is too far if you have the energy, the time, the health, and the will power. This applies to achieving your dreams as well.

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  1. I'd love to have a national park in my state. The closest we have is the big nature preserve down the road from me where the buffalo live. It's so big that I've never been able to get a glimpse of those buffalo.

  2. Lovely images of California's National parks. I have been to 5 out of these 9. It would be nice to see them all. Wonderful post.

  3. many fantastic and beautiful National Parks in California! They are all different and amazing!

  4. everything in your list is a treasure worth spending all your energy with Beth. happy weekend wandering to you and Khai. my blog is running on scheduled posts today and tomorrow. i am off to motherhoodland. :)

  5. What a good collection of National Park inside your pocket.

    You can at anytime share anyone of them, and we will be grateful.

  6. California does have some very beautiful parks! Those are the ones i have not been to, so keep posting pictures!

  7. this is why i am into landscape photography now, seeing these inspirational landscape photos makes me want to put these hiking shoes, gonna research first the hiking spots here in korea.

  8. We love visiting the state and national parks. If people don't visit them, they might not be able to be maintained. Great post!

  9. It is always a joy to be out! yes indeed...and for those of us who do not have the time and resources to hike these places, your taking us there with you matters a lot! keep exploring and taking us there! The Joshua trees make me smile and remember the first times I was enchanted by your beautiful world :)

  10. oh how i wish i have the time to visit California again. Another inspiration and amazing places to put in my bucket list.

  11. Such amazing beauty created by our Father. Thank you for sharing these photos with us. We do need to preserve nature.

  12. Gorgeous, gorgeous parks from your collection of photos, Betchai. I have only been to Muir Wood once, but didn't even explore it much.

  13. I love California! I can't wait to cross off your list of parks. We are half way. smiles.

  14. Wow! What a wonderful collection of national parks, betchai. Stunning pictures and places, makes me want to get OUT, dream, discover and explore right away! Thank you for this wonderful inspiration :)