National Parks: Sequoia National Park

by Maïmouna Kante

  In the next series, the Acorn will highlight some of the most beautiful preserved jewels in the U.S. Beautiful sceneries that get an annual visit of 1.2 million. In this issue, we will go to the Sequoia National Park located in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California.

  This park is solely comprised of Sequoia trees, among which is the largest tree on Earth: the General Sherman tree. Also known as Sequoiadendron giganteum, this large, majestically living organism naturally grows on the the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. According to National Geographic, not only are they the world’s largest single living tree and the largest living thing in volume, but the oldest of these trees’ ring count is 3,500 years old. The trees have thick bark that can be up to 90 centimeters (three feet) thick and are fire resistant, although they benefit from periodic fires that come in handy when they need to procreate.

  A large part of the Sierra Nevada is found in the Sequoia National Park. The park is also home to the tallest mountain in the U.S., Mt. Whitney, which rises 4,421 meters (14,505 feet). The mountains in this region are mostly formed from granitic rocks (granite, diorite and monzonite). This type of rock is formed when the molten rock beneath the Earth’s crust cools. This process is also known as subduction—it took place during the Cretaceous Period about 100 million years ago.

  According to National Parks, the Sequoia National Park hosts a large variety of wildlife including coyote, badger, black bear, bighorn sheep, deer, fox, cougar, eleven species of woodpecker, various species of turtle, three species of owl, opossum and much more.

  Next time you are in California, don’t miss out on the opportunity to be amongst the kings of this National Park. If you don’t believe me, take engineer, naturalist and writer John Muir’s word for it: “Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it… it still seems above all others.”

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