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5/31/2006

Colorado - Rocky Mountain National Park


The Rocky Mountain National Park was established in 1915 and designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1976. Located in north-central Colorado in part of the Rocky Mountains called the Front Range, the park encompasses 415 square miles and is one of the highest national parks in the US, with elevation ranging from 7,860 to 14,259 feet. The Longs Peak is the highest in the park and was named for Stephen Long, an American military explorer leading an expedition to the region in 1820. A large section of the Continental Divide runs through Colorado, including Rocky Mountain National Park in its center. The Colorado River starts in the park on the west side of the divide flowing 1,450 miles into the Gulf of California. There are distinct ecosystems in the park changing with elevation. There are large meadow valleys surrounded by hills at the lowest end ranging from 5,600 to 9,500 feet. This is where the richest diversity of plants and animals can be found. Going higher up to 11,000 feet, beautiful mountain lakes surrounded by evergreen trees found their home. And finally, passing 11,000 feet in elevation, the harsh and extreme climate of Alpine Tundra forces the life to grow close to the ground, looking for warmth and a way to survive. All of this provides excellent photo opportunities for both landscape and wildlife.



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