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If you love Marinduque and want to contribute articles to this site, please do so. My contact information is in my profile. The above photo was taken from the balcony of The Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Boac, Marindque, Philippines. I love sunsets. How about you? Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing your copyrights. Thank you and Cheers!

Tres Reyes Island view of the Marinduque Mainland

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Redwood National Park, California


The Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) are located in the United States, along the coast of northern California. Comprising Redwood National Park (created 1968) and California's Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks (dating from the 1920s), the combined RNSP contain 133,000 acres (540 km2).[2] Located entirely within Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, the four parks, together, protect 45% of all remaining Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) old-growth forests, totaling at least 38,982 acres (157.75 km2). These trees are the tallest and one of the most massive tree species on Earth. In addition to the redwood forests, the parks preserve other indigenous flora, fauna, grassland prairie, cultural resources, portions of rivers and other streams, and 37 miles (60 km) of pristine coastline.

In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres (8,100 km2) of the California coast. The northern portion of that area, originally inhabited by Native Americans, attracted many lumbermen and others turned gold miners when a minor gold rush brought them to the region. Failing in efforts to strike it rich in gold, these men turned toward harvesting the giant trees for booming development in San Francisco and other places on the West Coast. After many decades of unobstructed clear-cut logging, serious efforts toward conservation began. By the 1920s the work of the Save-the-Redwoods League, founded in 1918 to preserve remaining old-growth redwoods, resulted in the establishment of Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks among others. Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by which time nearly 90% of the original redwood trees had been logged. The National Park Service (NPS) and the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) administratively combined Redwood National Park with the three abutting Redwood State Parks in 1994 for the purpose of cooperative forest management and stabilization of forests and watersheds as a single unit.

The ecosystem of the RNSP preserves a number of threatened animal species such as the Brown Pelican, Tidewater Goby, Bald Eagle, Chinook Salmon, Northern Spotted Owl, and Steller's Sea Lion. In recognition of the rare ecosystem and cultural history found in the parks, the United Nations designated them a World Heritage Site on September 5, 1980 and an International Biosphere Reserve on June 30, 1983.

Note: This is No.22 of a series of articles on national park in the US.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Petrified Forest National Park,Arizona


Petrified Forest National Park is a U.S. national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona, United States. The park's headquarters are about 26 miles (42 km) east of Holbrook along Interstate 40 (I-40), which parallels a railroad line, the Puerco River, and historic U.S. Route 66, all crossing the park roughly east–west. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about 146 square miles (380 km2), encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. The site, the northern part of which extends into the Painted Desert, was declared a National Monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962.

About 600,000 people visit the park each year and take part in activities including sightseeing, photography, hiking, and backpacking.

Averaging about 5,400 feet (1,600 m) in elevation, the park has a dry windy climate with temperatures that vary from summer highs of about 100 °F (38 °C) to winter lows well below freezing. More than 400 species of plants, dominated by grasses such as bunchgrass, blue grama, and sacaton, are found in the park. Fauna include larger animals such as pronghorns, coyotes, and bobcats; many smaller animals such as deer mice; snakes; lizards; seven kinds of amphibians, and more than 200 species of birds, some of which are permanent residents and many of which are migratory. About half of the park is designated wilderness.

The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees, that lived in the Late Triassic, about 225 million years ago. The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful Chinle Formation, from which the Painted Desert gets its name. Beginning about 60 million years ago, the Colorado Plateau, of which the park is part, was pushed upward by tectonic forces and exposed to increased erosion. All of the park's rock layers above the Chinle, except geologically recent ones found in parts of the park, have been removed by wind and water. In addition to petrified logs, fossils found in the park have included Late Triassic ferns, cycads, ginkgoes, and many other plants as well as fauna including giant reptiles called phytosaurs, large amphibians, and early dinosaurs. Paleontologists have been unearthing and studying the park's fossils since the early 20th century.

The park's earliest human inhabitants arrived at least 8,000 years ago. By about 2,000 years ago, they were growing corn in the area and shortly thereafter building pit houses in what would become the park. Later inhabitants built above-ground dwellings called pueblos. Although a changing climate caused the last of the park's pueblos to be abandoned by about 1400 CE, more than 600 archeological sites, including petroglyphs, have been discovered in the park. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers visited the area, and by the mid-19th century a U.S. team had surveyed an east–west route through the park and noted the petrified wood. Later roads and a railway followed similar routes and gave rise to tourism and, before the park was protected, to private removal of the park's fossils. Theft of petrified wood remains a problem in the 21st century.
The Tepees

Note: This is No.21 of a series of articles on national park in the US.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park,Coastal Region-Pacific Coastline
Olympic National Park is located in the U.S. state of Washington, in the Olympic Peninsula. The park can be divided into three basic regions: the Pacific coastline, the Olympic Mountains, and the temperate rainforest. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt originally created Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909 and after Congress voted to authorize a re-designation to National Park status, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the legislation in 1938. In 1976, Olympic National Park became an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 it was designated a World Heritage Site. In 1988, Congress designated 95 percent of the park as the Olympic Wilderness.

Mount Olympus on Winter
The Rain Forests

This is No.20 of a series of articles on national parks in the US.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mount Ranier National Park, Washington

Mt Rainier as viewed from Paradise, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park is a United States National Park located in southeast Pierce County and northeast Lewis County in Washington state. It was one of the US's earliest National Parks, having been established on March 2, 1899 as the fifth national park in the United States. The park contains 368 square miles (950 km2) including all of Mount Rainier, a 14,411-foot (4,392 m) stratovolcano. The mountain rises abruptly from the surrounding land with elevations in the park ranging from 1,600 feet (490 m) to over 14,000 feet (4,300 m). The highest point in the Cascade Range, around it are valleys, waterfalls, subalpine wildflower meadows, old growth forest and more than 26 glaciers. The volcano is often shrouded in clouds that dump enormous amounts of rain and snow on the peak every year and hide it from the crowds that head to the park on weekends.

Mount Rainier is circled by the Wonderland Trail and is covered by several glaciers and snowfields totaling some 35 square miles (91 km2). Carbon Glacier is the largest glacier by volume in the continental United States, while Emmons Glacier is the largest glacier by area. About 1.3 million people visit Mount Rainier National Park each year. Mount Rainier is a popular peak for mountain climbing with some 10,000 attempts per year with approximately 25% making it to the summit. The park contains outstanding subalpine meadows and 91,000 acres (370 km2) of old growth forests.

This is No.19 of a series of articles on national parks in the US.

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky


Mammoth Cave National Park is a U.S. National Park in central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world. The official name of the system is the Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System for the ridge under which the cave has formed. The park was established as a national park on July 1, 1941. It became a World Heritage Site on October 27, 1981, and an international Biosphere Reserve on September 26, 1990.

The park's 52,835 acres (21,382 ha) are located primarily in Edmonson County, Kentucky, with small areas extending eastward into Hart County and Barren County. It is centered around the Green River, with a tributary, the Nolin River, feeding into the Green just inside the park. With over 390 miles (630 km) of passageways it is by far the world's longest known cave system, being well over twice as long as the second longest cave system, which is South Dakota's Jewel Cave with just over 150 miles (240 km) of known passageways.


This is No. 18 of the series of articles on national park in the US.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California


Lassen Volcanic National Park is a United States National Park in northeastern California. The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak; the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southern-most volcano in the Cascade Range. Lassen Volcanic National Park started as two separate national monuments designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907: Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument.

The source of heat for volcanism in the Lassen area is subduction off the Northern California coast of the Gorda Plate diving below the North American Plate. The area surrounding Lassen Peak is still active with boiling mud pots, stinking fumaroles, and churning hot springs. Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found (plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and strato).
The park is accessible via State Routes SR 89 and SR 44. SR 89 passes north-south through the park, beginning at SR 36 to the south and ending at SR 44 to the north. SR 89 passes immediately adjacent the base of Lassen Peak.

There are a total of five vehicle entrances to the park: the north and south entrances of SR 89, and unpaved roads entering at Drakesbad and Juniper Lake in the south, and Butte Lake in the northeast. The Park can also be accessed by trails leading in from Caribou Wilderness to the east, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail, and two smaller trails leading in from Willow Lake and Little Willow Lake to the south.
Mt Shasta as seen from Lassen National Park
A large lodge (the Lassen Chalet) with concession facilities formerly was located near the south-west entrance, but was demolished in 2005. A new, full-service visitor center was constructed in the same location, and opened to the public in 2008. Near the old lodge location was also located Lassen Ski Area, which ceased operation in 1992; all infrastructure has been removed.

This is No.17 of the series of articles on national park in the US.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

King's Canyon and Sequioa National Parks, Fresno


Kings Canyon National Park is a U.S. National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California. The park was established in 1940 and covers 462,901 acres (187,329 ha). It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of Giant Sequoias.The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service together.
Kings Canyon had been known to white settlers since the mid-19th century, but it was not until John Muir first visited in 1873 that the canyon began receiving attention. Muir was delighted at the canyon's similarity to Yosemite Valley, as it reinforced his theory regarding the origin of both valleys, which, though competing with Josiah Whitney's then-accepted theory that the spectacular mountain valleys were formed by earthquake action, Muir's theory later proved correct: that both valleys were carved by massive glaciers during the last Ice Age.

Then United States Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes fought to create the Kings Canyon National Park. He hired Ansel Adams to photograph and document this among other parks, in great part leading to the passage of the bill in March 1940. The bill combined the General Grant Grove with the back country beyond Zumwalt Meadow.
Kings Canyon's future was in doubt for nearly fifty years. Some wanted to build a dam at the western end of the valley, while others wanted to preserve it as a park. The debate was settled in 1965, when the valley, along with Tehipite Valley, was added to the park.

Note: This is No. 16 of a series of articles on popular national parks in the US. Macrine and I with the Katague children visited these two parks in the late 1970's.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Joshua Tree National Park, California


Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California. Declared a U.S. National Park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act (Public Law 103-433), it had previously been a U.S.National Monument since 1936. It is named for the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) forests native to the park. It covers a land area of 789,745 acres (319,598 ha). A large part of the park is designated to wilderness area—some 429,690 acres (173,890 ha). Straddling the San Bernardino County/Riverside County border, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains run through the southwest edge of the park.




This is No.15 of a series of articles on popular national parks in the US.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park


Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, is a United States National Park located in the U.S. State of Hawaiʻi on the island of Hawaiʻi. It displays the results of hundreds of thousands of years of volcanism, migration, and evolution—processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct Ancient Hawaiian culture. Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the most massive, offer scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors' views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987.

The park includes 505.36 square miles (1,308.9 km2) of land. Over half of the park is designated the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness area and provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities. The park encompasses diverse environments that range from sea level to the summit of the Earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. Climates range from lush tropical rain forests, to the arid and barren Kaʻū Desert. Active eruptive sites include the main caldera of Kīlauea and a more active but remote vent called Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The main entrance to the park is from the Hawaii Belt Road. The Chain of Craters Road, as the name implies, leads past several craters from historic eruptions to the coast. It used to continue to another entrance to the park near the town of Kalapana, but that portion is now covered by a lava flow.

Note: This is No.14 of the series of articles on popular national parks in the US. Macrine and I visited this park in 2007.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming


Grand Teton National Park is a United States National Park located in northwestern Wyoming, south of Yellowstone National Park. The park is named after the Grand Teton, which, at 13,770 feet (4,197 m), is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range.
The origin of the name "Teton" is not definitive. One possible origin is that it was the name given by French trappers in the area. ("Tetons" means breasts in French) Another possible source is that the mountains derive their name from the names of one of tribes in the Sioux Nation. Grand Teton National Park was established on February 26, 1929. The park covers 484 square miles (1,250 km2) of land and water.
There are nearly 200 miles (320 km) of trails for hikers to enjoy in Grand Teton National Park.

The rock units that make up the east face of the Teton Range are around 2500 million years old and made of metamorphosed sandstones, limestones, various shales, and interbeded volcanic deposits. Buried deep under Tertiary volcanic, sedimentary, and glacial deposits in Jackson Hole, these same Precambrian rocks are overlain by Paleozoic and Mesozoic formations that have long since been eroded away from atop the Tetons.

The Paleozoic-aged sediments were deposited in warm shallow seas and resulted in various carbonate rocks along with sandstones and shales. Mesozoic deposition transitioned back and forth from marine to non-marine sediments. In later Mesozoic, the Cretaceous Seaway periodically covered the region and the Sierran Arc to the west provided volcanic sediments.

A mountain-building episode called the Laramide orogeny started to uplift western North America 70 million years ago and eventually formed the Rocky Mountains. This erased the seaway and created fault systems along which highlands rose. Sediment eroded from uplifted areas filled-in subsiding basins such as Jackson Hole while reverse faults created the first part of the Teton Range in the Eocene epoch. Large Eocene-aged volcanic eruptions from the north in the Yellowstone-Absaroka area along with later Pleistocene-aged Yellowstone Caldera eruptions, left thick volcanic deposits in basins.

The Teton Range started to grow along a north-south trending fault system next to Jackson Hole some 9 million years ago in the Miocene epoch. Then starting in the Pliocene, Lake Teewinot periodically filled Jackson Hole and left thick lakebed sediments. The lake was dry by the time a series of glaciations in the Pleistocene epoch saw the introduction of large glaciers in the Teton and surrounding ranges. During the Last Glacial Maximum, these glaciers melded together to become part of the Wisconsin glaciation, which carried away all soil from Jackson Hole and surrounding basins. Later and less severe ice ages created enough locally-deposited material in the form of moraines and till to repair much of this damage. Since then, mass wasting events such as the 1925 Gros Ventre landslide, along with slower forms of erosion, have continued to modify the area. On the floor of the Jackson Hole valley rise several landforms, one of the most conspicuous being Blacktail Butte.



Note: This is No.13 of the series of articles on national parks in the US.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Glacier National Park, Montana


Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges (sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains), over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem", a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2).

The region that became Glacier National Park was first inhabited by Native Americans and upon the arrival of European explorers, was dominated by the Blackfeet in the east and the Flathead in the western regions. Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks, and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1932, work was completed on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which provided greater accessibility for automobiles into the heart of the park.

The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. Known as the Lewis Overthrust, these sedimentary rocks are considered to have some of the finest fossilized examples of extremely early life found anywhere on Earth. The current shapes of the Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges and positioning and size of the lakes show the telltale evidence of massive glacial action, which carved U-shaped valleys and left behind moraines which impounded water creating lakes. Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the glaciers may disappear by 2030 if the current climate patterns persist.

Glacier National Park has almost all its original endemic plant and animal species. Mammals such as the grizzly and mountain goat as well as less common ones such as the wolverine and lynx are known to inhabit the park. Hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species and even a few reptile and amphibian species have been documented. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra and the easternmost forests of red cedar and hemlock normally found in large numbers closer to the Pacific Ocean. Though larger forest fires are uncommon in the park, in 2003 over 10% of the park was impacted by fires.

Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—the two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and were designated as the world's first International Peace Park in 1932. Both parks were designated by the United Nations as Biosphere Reserves in 1976, and in 1995 as World Heritage sites.



Note: This is No.12 of a series of articles on popular national park in US
Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges (sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains), over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem", a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2).

The region that became Glacier National Park was first inhabited by Native Americans and upon the arrival of European explorers, was dominated by the Blackfeet in the east and the Flathead in the western regions. Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks, and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1932, work was completed on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which provided greater accessibility for automobiles into the heart of the park.

The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. Known as the Lewis Overthrust, these sedimentary rocks are considered to have some of the finest fossilized examples of extremely early life found anywhere on Earth. The current shapes of the Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges and positioning and size of the lakes show the telltale evidence of massive glacial action, which carved U-shaped valleys and left behind moraines which impounded water creating lakes. Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the glaciers may disappear by 2030 if the current climate patterns persist.

Glacier National Park has almost all its original endemic plant and animal species. Mammals such as the grizzly and mountain goat as well as less common ones such as the wolverine and lynx are known to inhabit the park. Hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species and even a few reptile and amphibian species have been documented. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra and the easternmost forests of red cedar and hemlock normally found in large numbers closer to the Pacific Ocean. Though larger forest fires are uncommon in the park, in 2003 over 10% of the park was impacted by fires.

Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—the two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and were designated as the world's first International Peace Park in 1932. Both parks were designated by the United Nations as Biosphere Reserves in 1976, and in 1995 as World Heritage sites.



Note: This is No.12 of a series of articles on popular national park in US

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Everglades National Park, Florida


Everglades National Park is a national park in the U.S. state of Florida that protects the southern 25 percent of the original Everglades. It is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, and is visited on average by one million people each year. It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. It has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, only one of three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.
Wildlife in the Park
Unlike most U.S. national parks, Everglades National Park was created to protect a fragile ecosystem instead of safeguarding a unique geographic feature. The Everglades are wetlands created by a slow-moving river originating in Lake Okeechobee, fed by the Kissimmee River, and flowing southwest at about .25 miles (0.40 km) per day into Florida Bay. The park protects an interconnected network of marshland and forest ecosystems that are maintained by natural forces. Thirty-six species designated as threatened or protected live in the park, including the Florida panther, the American crocodile, and the West Indian manatee. The park protects the largest U.S. wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America, and contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere. More than 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles live within Everglades National Park. All of South Florida's fresh water, which is stored in the Biscayne Aquifer, is recharged in the park.

Although humans have lived in the Everglades for thousands of years, not until 1882 did the region begin to be drained for agricultural or residential use. In the 20th century the natural water flow from Lake Okeechobee was controlled and diverted to the explosive growth of the South Florida metropolitan area. The park was established in 1934 to protect the quickly vanishing Everglades and dedicated in 1947,the same year massive canal-building projects across South Florida began to divert water away from the park. The ecosystems in Everglades National Park have suffered significantly from human activity, and the repair and restoration of the Everglades is a politically charged issue in South Florida.


Note: This is No.11 of the series of articles on popular national parks in US

Friday, December 3, 2010

Denali National Park and Preserrve, Alaska



Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Interior Alaska and contains Denali (Mount McKinley),the highest mountain in North America. The park and preserve together cover 9,492 mi² (24,585 km²).
The word "Denali" means "the high one" in the native Athabaskan language and refers to the mountain itself. The mountain was named after president William McKinley of Ohio in 1897 by local prospector William A. Dickey, although McKinley had no connection with the region. The name is only used by those outside of Alaska. Charles Alexander Sheldon took an interest in the Dall sheep native to the region, and became concerned that human encroachment might threaten the species. After his 1907-1908 visit, he petitioned the people of Alaska and Congress to create a preserve for the sheep. (His account of the visit was published posthumously as The Wilderness of Denali, ISBN 1-56833-152-5). The park was established as Mount McKinley National Park on February 26, 1917. However, only a portion of Mount McKinley (not even including the summit) was within the original park boundary. The park was designated an international biosphere reserve in 1976. A separate Denali National Monument was proclaimed by Jimmy Carter on December 1, 1978.

Mount McKinley National Park, whose name had been subject to local criticism from the onset, and Denali National Monument were incorporated and established into Denali National Park and Preserve by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, December 2, 1980. At this time the Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain back to "Denali," even though the U.S. Board of Geographic Names maintains "McKinley". Alaskans tend to use "Denali" and rely on context to distinguish between the park and the mountain. The size of the national park is over 6 million acres (24,500 km²), of which 4,724,735.16 acres (19,120 km²) are federally owned. The national preserve is 1,334,200 acres (543 km²), of which 1,304,132 acres (5,278 km²) are federally owned. On December 2, 1980, a 2,146,580 acre (8,687 km²) Denali Wilderness was established within the park. The national park is located near Denali State Park.

Denali habitat is a mix of forest at the lowest elevations, including deciduous taiga. The preserve is also home to tundra at middle elevations, and glaciers, rock, and snow at the highest elevations. Today, the park hosts more than 400,000 visitors who enjoy wildlife viewing, mountaineering, and backpacking. Wintertime recreation includes dog-sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling where allowed.



Note: This is No.10 of the series of articles on popular national parks in US

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Masskara Festival, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental



The MassKara Festival is a week-long festival held each year in Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental province in the Philippines every third weekend of October nearest October 19, the city's Charter Anniversary.

The festival first began in 1980 during a period of crisis. The province relied on sugar cane as its primary agricultural crop, and the price of sugar was at an all-time low due to the introduction of sugar substitutes like high fructose corn syrup in the United States. It was also a time of tragedy; on April 22 of that year, the inter-island vessel Don Juan carrying many Negrenses, including those belonging to prominent families in Bacolod City, collided with the tanker Tacloban City and sank. An estimated 700 lives were lost in the tragedy.

In the midst of these tragic events, the city's artists, local government and civic groups decided to hold a festival of smiles, because the city at that time was also known as the City of Smiles. They reasoned that a festival was also a good opportunity to pull the residents out of the pervasive gloomy atmosphere. The initial festival was therefore, a declaration by the people of the city that no matter how tough and bad the times were, Bacolod City is going to pull through, survive, and in the end, triumph.
The word "MassKara" is a portmanteau, coined by the late artist Ely Santiago from the word "mass" meaning "many or a multitude of the people", and the Spanish word cara meaning "face". A prominent feature of the festival is the mask worn by participants; these are always adorned with smiling faces. MassKara thus means a multitude of smiling face'.

The festival features a street dance competition where people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see colorfully-masked dancers gyrating to the rhythm of Latin musical beats in a display of mastery, gaiety, coordination and stamina. Major activities include the MassKara Queen beauty pageant, carnivals, drum and bugle corps competitions, food festivals, sports events, musical concerts, agriculture-trade fairs, garden shows, and other special events organized ad-hoc every year.

Note: This is No.5 on the series of articles on Philippines Festivals and Fiestas
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