|Bighorn Sheep, native to the Rocky Mountains|
The first tourists to visit the area of the Rocky Mountain National Park were the Paleo-Indians who visited about 11,000 years ago. The Paleo-Indians left behind lots of stone tools, a familiar feeling for any modern camper who returns home to unload the car and yells out "Has anyone seen my (fill-in-the-blank)? I think I might have left it behind at our campsite."
Later the Ute tribe inhabited the area that became the Rocky Mountain National Park. While the park area was never their permanent home, the Ute tribe dominated the area until the late 1700s (the state of Utah is named after the Ute tribe).
|Ute Chief Severo and Family, 1899|
Jefferson's answer was to explore the Rocky Mountain region and map out the area to be prepared for future boundary disputes that he, wisely, knew would be coming one day. In 1804 the Lewis and Clark Expedition left on their journey to become the first to scientifically explore and map the Rocky Mountain area. Their vivid descriptions of beauty and wildlife brought mountain men who hunted and trapped in the Rocky Mountain area throughout the 1800s. Trapping beaver peaked from the 1820s to the 1840s, when beaver fur hats were being replaced by silk hats, and at the same time the beaver population was declining. In the 1860s homesteaders were moving into the area, building farms and communities.
|Mountain Man Seth Kinman, 1860|
In 1909 Enos Mills, a Rocky Mountain nature guide and lodge owner, presented the idea of protecting the Rocky Mountains with a new national park. Mills hoped that "In years to come when I am asleep beneath the pines, thousands of families will find rest and hope in this park." After a six year campaign he was successful, and 101 years ago (January 26, 1915) President Wilson signed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act to create the Rocky Mountain National Park.
|Continental Divide Socks|
So what's the Continental Divide? You learned about it in third grade, but can you still remember it now? All water flows downhill and will eventually reach either the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. The Continental Divide is the line across the Americas (in the Rocky Mountains) where snow and rain on one side of the mountain will flow towards the Atlantic and snow and rain on the other will reach the Pacific.
Happy Knitting . . . . Scout