Thursday, November 15, 2007

Byrce National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park consists of 37,277 acres of scenic colorful rock formations and desert wonderland. The majority of park visitors come during June to September and are lowest in December through February. Each year the park is visited by more than 1.5 million visitors from all over the world. Languages as varied as the shapes and colors of the hoodoos express pleasure in the sights.

Shortly after 1900, visitors were coming to see the colorful geologic sights, and the first accommodations were built along the Paunsaugunt Plateau rim above Bryce's Canyon. By 1920 efforts were started to set aside these scenic wonders. In 1923 President Warren G. Harding proclaimed part of the area as Bryce Canyon National Monument under the Powell (now Dixie) National Forest. In 1924 legislation was passed to establish the area as Utah National Park, but provisions of this legislation were not met until 1928. Legislation was passed that year to change the name to the new park to Bryce Canyon National Park.
Congress created Bryce National Monument in 1923. In 1928, Bryce Canyon was designated Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon National Park is named for one of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. Erosion has shaped colorful Claron limestones, sandstones and mudstones into thousands of spires, fins, pinnacles and mazes. Collectively called "hoodoos," these unique formations are whimsically arranged and tinted with colors too numerous and subtle to name.

Hoodoo is a pillar of rock, usually of fantastic shape, left by erosion. Hoodoo is to cast a spell. At Bryce Canyon National Park erosion forms an array of fantastic shapes we know as hoodoos. Surrounded by the beauty of southern Utah, these hoodoos cast their spell on all who visit. Geologists say that 10 million years ago forces within the Earth created and then moved the massive blocks we know as the Table Cliffs and Paunsaugunt Plateaus. Rock layers on the Table Cliffs now tower 2,000 feet above the same layers on the Paunsaugunt. Ancient rivers carved the tops and exposed edges of these blocks, removing some layers and sculpting intricate formations in others. The Paria Valley was created and later widened between the plateaus.

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