“offering adventurous visitors a true wilderness experience”
Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region offering the adventurous visitor a wilderness experience. A key feature of the park is the Naha Dehé (South Nahanni River). Four great canyons line this spectacular whitewater river. At Nailicho (Virginia Falls) the river plunges in a thunderous plume. The park's sulphur hotsprings, alpine tundra, mountain ranges, and forests of spruce and aspen are home to many species of birds, fish and mammals. A visitor centre in Fort Simpson features displays on the history, culture and geography of the area. The park was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1978. Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, approximately 500 km (311 mi) west of Yellowknife, protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region. The centrepiece of the park is the South Nahanni River. Four noteworthy canyons reaching 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in depth, called First, Second, Third and Fourth Canyon, line this spectacular whitewater river. The name Nahanni comes from the indigenous Dene language name for the area; Nah'a Dehé, which means "river of the land of the Nah'a people". There are several different landforms in the park that have taken millions of years to form, and give it a diversity not seen in any other national park in Canada. Sediment left by an ancient inland sea 500-200 million years ago had since become pressed into layers of rock. These layers were stacked about 6 km deep and are peppered with fossils, remnants of these ancient sea beds. As the continents shifted, the North American and Pacific plates collided, the force of which pushed the layers of rock upwards. Ridges of rock bent and broke, leaving behind the ranges seen today. This same action also caused volcanic activity, sending molten lava into but not through the sedimentary rock. While there are no volcanoes in the park, towers of heated rock called igneous batholiths were sent upwards, pushing the sediment further up. The top layer of sedimentary rock was eventually eroded away, resulting in granite towers that form the Ragged Range. The park's sulphur hot springs, alpine tundra, mountain ranges, and forests of spruce and aspen are home to many species of birds, fish and mammals. The park lies within three of Canada's ecozones, the Taiga Cordillera in the west, the Taiga Plains in the east and a small southern portion in the Boreal Cordillera.The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has listed ten species which are special concern, threatened, or endangered that Nahanni National Park Reserve provides seasonal and year round habitat for, including wood buffalo, grizzly bear, and woodland caribou. The diverse range of soils offers several specialized and uncommon habitats. More than 700 species of vascular plants and 300 species of both bryophytes and lichen can be found in the park, giving it a richer variety than any other area in the NWT. Nahanni aster is a very rare subspecies of aster found only in the Park. Dene peoples have used the lands around Nahanni National Park Reserve for thousands of years. The first human occupation of the area is estimated to have occurred 9,000-10,000 years ago. Evidence of prehistoric human use has been found at Yohin Lake and a few other sites within the park. The local oral history contains many references to the Naha tribe, a mountain-dwelling people who used to raid settlements in the adjacent lowlands. These people are said to have rather quickly and mysteriously disappeared.
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Nahanni National Park Reserve
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