Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Nature and Science

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks contain big trees, high peaks, and deep canyons, but the diversity goes far beyond that. Located in the southern Sierra Nevada range, the parks' elevations extend from 1,300 feet (418m) in the foothills to 14,491 feet (4,417m) at the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states. Plunging in the opposite direction far below the surface are over 200 marble caverns, many with endemic cave fauna. This huge variation in the landscape contributes to the collage of habitats that create a rich assemblage of terrestrial, aquatic and subterranean ecosystems.

Here one can observe a vast diversity of plants and animals representing an array of adaptations. Despite the protected status of resources within park boundaries, many threats to park resources exist. These include air pollutants, invasion by alien species, loss of natural fire regimes, habitat fragmentation, and rapid human-caused climatic change. The Division of Natural Resources strives to: Understand natural processes (such as fire) and human-induced effects on ecosystems (such as effects of air pollution). Mitigate for the existing and potential human effects on ecosystems (for example, restoring previously developed areas using re-vegetation, re-introducing fire to areas where it has been suppressed for decades).

Monitor for ongoing or future trends in key ecosystem components. Protect existing natural species, populations, communities, systems, and processes. Interpret these organisms, systems, and processes to park visitors and to visitor center staffs so they may provide current information to the public.

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Featured Park
Rising above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain, the Teton Range stands monument to the people who fought to protect it. These are mountains of the imagination. Mountains that led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park where you can explore over two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.
Featured Wildlife
The pika is a close relative of the rabbits and hares, with two upper incisors on each side of the jaw, one behind the other. Being rock-gray in color, pikas are seldom seen until their shrill, metallic call reveals their presence.