Slideshow: Celebrating Denali National Park's 97th Birthday
Today marks Alaska’s Denali National Park—originally called Mount McKinley National Park by Congress—97th birthday. The wildlife and rugged terrain that first made it a cause celebré for the conservation movement remain as striking as ever.
Modern-day Denali National Park and Preserve draws around 400,000 visitors per year, and it isn’t hard to see why. Roaming grizzlies, alpine tundra and the majestic mountain that inspired its name all contribute to its more than century-old status as a national treasure.
American newspapers first published descriptions of “Mount McKinley,” named for the twenty-fifth president, nearly 120 years ago. That peak had already enjoyed centuries of prominence in indigenous lore as “Denali,” among other names, but North America’s tallest mountain and its environs were largely a mystery amid the forbidding terrain of Alaska, whose purchase by the federal government was popularly known as “Seward’s Folly” until gold was discovered in the Yukon just before the turn of the century.
Charles Sheldon, a sportsman and naturalist, first began advocating the designation of the Denali region as a national park to protect its diverse wildlife, specifically Dall sheep. Sheldon worked with the Boone and Crockett Club to foster support for the idea, a campaign that finally resulted in a national park spanning almost 1.6 million acres in 1917. The park was expanded and renamed the Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980, and it now covers 6 million acres.
As these photos make clear, Denali National Park is still a special place—one of the world’s last great wild frontiers.
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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