The Mesa Verde National Park in the US state of Colorado is visited by approximately 5,000 visitors annually. It extends over a total area of 210 km². Its founding date is June 29, 1906.
Mesa Verde means green table. This is how the Spanish immigrants named the park’s table mountain. It is over 2,000 meters high and covered with coniferous forest. It looks like a big, green “board”. Therefore it was decided to name the national park Mesa Verde. Around the green plaque is a desert plain, which is criss-crossed by 10 canyons.
The special highlight of the park are the pre-Columbian rock niche settlements from the 12th and 13th centuries, which were used as dwellings. The ancestors inhabited the canyons as early as 1200. Gradually the mesa was also settled and so the people developed into rock niche inhabitants. They found shelter and permanent shelter in the niches of the rock walls. It is also impressive to understand the history of human development. The cave dwellers who made wickerwork at the time became builders of multi-storey adobe houses in just four steps!
Towards the end of the 13th century, however, the residents emigrated. They had to leave the area due to the long dry spell.
The first whites traveled in the 19th century. However, they did not find the rock settlements until 1874. However, as was common at the time, the discovery of the settlements was followed by destruction, looting and, finally, restorations. Then the national park was created.
Animals in the Mesa Verde National Park
The mule deer is particularly common in the park area. Originally there were also black bears and mountain lions in Mesa Verde National Park. Unfortunately, none of these animals have been observed for years.
Many bats share flight space with over 170 different bird species. You can hear the numerous ravens loud and clear. The raven’s little relatives, the jays, are not quieter and at least as strongly represented. We are particularly proud to have successfully reintroduced the turkey, which has already been exterminated here.
Various species of snakes also live in the park. A poisonous but very rare species of rattlesnake also has its home here in Mesa Verde National Park. Lizards and reptiles can also be found here in the area.
Plants of Mesa Verde National Park
Around the Mesa-Verde mountain lies a desert landscape with corresponding vegetation. You will therefore mainly find trees such as the Mexican stone pine or pinyon. The Utah juniper has also been able to spread here. Two types of conifers have also established themselves here. They were used by the indigenous people as food, fuel, and building materials. In addition, people found ways to use them as a spice and for coloring, as well as a remedy.
These trees share the habitat with cacti and yuccas.
The bushes that are along the way give the impression of being heavily withered. But this is mostly not the case. They just adapted to the environmental conditions. The North American mugwort has also settled here.