Great Basin National Park   2 comments

Great Basin NP 00Where Is It: About 300 miles north of Las Vegas.

The Birth: The Park was established on October 27, 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

It Happened Here: In 1964, before the Park was established, an ancient bristlecone pine, found to be more than 4,900 years old, was cut down for scientific research.

Size: 77,082 acres

# Visitors: Great Basin National Park reported record attendance in 2012: 98,540. Peak attendance was in July; January had the least attendance.

Plants: From the sponsored Great Basin National Park Sights page:

The bristlecone pines are the stuff of legends. True masters of longevity, they endure not centuries but millennia. On rocky slopes beyond the end of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, you can walk among trees that have kept their grip on life for two to three thousand years – some much longer than that. A bristlecone pine found here was determined to be the world’s oldest living thing: 4,950 years of age.

Great Basin bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva) are remarkable for their great age and their ability to survive adverse growing conditions. In fact, it seems one secret to their longevity is the harsh environment in which most bristlecone pines grow.

Bristlecone pines in Great Basin National Park grow in isolated groves just below treeline. Conditions are harsh, with cold temperatures, a short growing season, and high winds. Bristlecone pines in these high-elevation environments grow very slowly, and in some years don’t even add a ring of growth. This slow growth makes their wood very dense and resistant to insects, fungi, rot, and erosion. Vegetation is very sparse, limiting the role of fire. Bristlecone pine seeds are occassionally cached by birds at lower elevations. Bristlecone pines grow more rapidly in more “favorable” environments at lower elevations. They do not achieve their legendary age or fascinating twisted shapes.

While bristlecone pines are the longest-living tree, scientists debate what is truly the oldest living thing. The creosote bush that grows in the Mojave Desert may be older. The cresote achieves its age by “cloning” new bushes from its root system. Yet bristlecone pines surely deserve our respect for not only surviving harsh conditions, but thriving in harsh conditions.

Animals: Animals common to the Park range from pronghorn antelopes to pygmy rabbits, from mountain sheep to marmots, from ringtail cats to ermine.

Choices: From

Great Basin National Park offers three major attractions:

  1. Wheeler Peak, a 13,063 foot mountain that towers above the Great Basin.
  2. Bristlecone pines, a unique tree that grows to an amazing age � some are thought to be up to 5,000 years old.
  3. Lehman Caves – beautiful caverns that penetrate deep into an underground world full of stalactites, stalagmites and other decorations.

The park is a great place to explore, hike, camp and see unique sights.

Fees: There is no entrance fee.

Staying There: There are about 100 camping sites which currently cost $10/night. There is no other lodging in the Park.

Contact Info:

100 Great Basin National Park
Baker, NV 89311
Park Headquarters: (775) 234-7331
Lehman Caves Tours Advance Ticket Sales: (775) 234-7517


National Park Service: Great Basin National Park

Posted December 15, 2013 by henrymowry in National Parks

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2 responses to “Great Basin National Park

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  1. Beautiful pictures

  2. Pingback: Winter Remains |

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