Shenandoah National Park is located in the US state of Virginia. With over 1.5 million visitors annually, it ranks high on the popularity scale of national parks in the USA. The national park, founded on December 26, 1935, shows its full beauty over an area of 802 km². See a2zdirectory for tourist attractions in Virginia.
The national park protects an approximately 100-kilometer-long mountain ridge. It is thick and lush covered with mixed forest. The highest point is 1,200 meters high. As a visitor, there are plenty of opportunities to make stops and enjoy the beautiful view. Parkstrasse, Skyline Drive, leads past a total of 60 viewpoints.
History of Shenandoah National Park
Various legacies from bygone times were found in today’s park area. These finds show, among other things, that until about 500 years ago two small, semi-sedentary Sioux peoples must have lived here. Among other things, stone spear and pecker tips and burial mounds were found in the park. It has not yet been clarified why the residents of the park who were hunters and gatherers left the park.
When the first whites arrived in the western part of the park in 1725, their aim was to reclaim the wilderness. They first settled in the Shenandoah Valley and a short time later also populated the higher regions of the Blue Ridge mountain range. What people understood back then by the taming of nature can be explained very quickly. It was less about creating and maintaining a habitat, it was much more about hunting. After just a century, all wolves, deer, bison and mountain lions in the area were wiped out. The deer and black bears were also only represented individually.
The forests were already extremely badly affected by deforestation and the formerly fertile soil was so over-cultivated that it barely produced any income. As a result, the mountain farmers became impoverished. The people living in the valley meanwhile had good yields in agriculture and expanded their activities to a wide variety of industries. So they lived in prosperity and wealth while the mountain dwellers developed back to hunters and gatherers and produced primitive art objects.
In terms of tourism, the area around today’s Shenandoah National Park only gained importance towards the end of the 19th century. This was recognized and spacious and luxurious mountain recreation centers were built. This in turn brought new income opportunities for the mountain farmers.
In 1926 this area was turned into a national park due to the great environmental pollution caused by the heavy tourism.
Animals in Shenandoah National Park
After the whites settled what is now Shenandoah National Park, they began to exterminate the native animals. Today, only white-tailed deer and black bears are left of the larger mammals. They increased again after the park was founded. The smaller mammals such as possums, embroidered animals, beavers, lynxes and raccoons have increased their populations again.
On the other hand, the population of birds is abundant. There are over 200 species of birds in Shenandoah National Park.
Plants in Shenandoah National Park
There are plenty of trees in the park. The entire area is forested up to 95 percent. Unfortunately, the deforestation by the whites wiped out many trees. Some of the tree species that used to be native can no longer be found in the entire area. All in all, there is a classic picture of a mixed forest. The ground is covered with moss and ferns and various types of mushrooms.
The azalea bushes in bloom and the many colorful flowering plants are particularly beautiful in spring.