Mesa Verde National Park Facts

Mesa Verde National Park Facts
Mesa Verde National Park is a 52,485 acre park located in Montezuma County, Colorado. The region has been inhabited for at least 9500 years, first by Paleo-Indians, then Mesa Verde Archaic people, Basketmakers, and finally Pueblo Indians. When the Spanish-Mexican explorers arrived in the 1600s they brought disease and conflict. This forever changed the Mesa Verde National Park region's culture. Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. It is the United States' largest archaeological preserve, and contains a cliff dwelling believed to be the largest in North America. The park contains the first site in the U.S. given federal protection for its archeological importance, thanks to the efforts of Virginia McClurg in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Interesting Mesa Verde National Park Facts:
By the late 1800s protection for Mesa Verde was necessary as tourists and treasure hunters were gathering and selling artifacts from the area.
In 1906 when President Theodore Roosevelt gave Mesa Verde National Park its status, he also created the Federal Antiquities Act. This made protection of items found on Mesa Verde land and other public sites law.
Mesa Verde National Park was the first site in the world to be protected for its archeological significance.
Mesa Verde National Park was named after the term 'mesa verde' which is Spanish for 'green table'.
The reason Mesa Verde National Park is so culturally and archeologically significant is because of the evidence of architecture, water systems and agricultural systems, artifacts, murals, rock art, and other significant finds in the area.
There are pre-Columbian cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park, considered to be the most well-preserved and notable in the country. There are 600 cliff dwellings in the park.
There are almost 5000 archaeological sites in Mesa Verde National Park, but more are likely to be uncovered as time passes.
Mesa Verde National Park was given Wilderness designation in 1976, and named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978.
Approximately 600,000 people visit Mesa Verde National Park every year. It is most popular with tourists in the month of July.
Between 1996 and 2003 Mesa Verde National Park experienced several wildfires due to lightning and drought. Half the park burned and several important sites and buildings were damaged or destroyed.
The fires revealed additional archeological sites that had been hidden because of tree growth and undergrowth.
Some of the most notable cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park include Cliff Palace, Square Tower House, and Balcony House. Some of the cliff dwelling villages had as many as 200 rooms.
At least 74 mammal species can be found living in Mesa Verde National Park including mule deer, coyotes, black bears, jackrabbits, mountain lions, elk, porcupines, marmots, gray foxes, Chickory squirrels, and many others.
There are at least 200 species of birds living in the park, as well as 16 reptile species and six species of fish.
Visitors to the park can sight see, hike, camp, bird watch, bike, take back-country tours, and visit many ancient historical sites.


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