The South Rim Road is open to the Visitor Center, but the remainder of the road is closed to allow for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The North Rim and East Portal Roads are closed for the season.
The Magnitude of Wilderness
National Park Service Mission
...to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area Outreach Education is committed to: Creating an awareness and fostering an appreciation for the mission of the National Park Service and the natural, cultural, and historic resources of Curecanti National Recreation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
EDUCATION LESSON PLAN
Title: The Magnitude of Wilderness
Grade level: Seventh grade
Time length: 60 minutes
Subject areas: Science, Mathematics, Geography
Teacher: Two NPS Education Specialists
Colorado Content Standards: Science - Standard 1. Students understand the processes of scientific investigation and design, conduct, communicate about, and evaluate such investigations. Students are able to use appropriate tools, technologies, and measurement units to gather and organize data; use metric units in measuring, calculating, and reporting results; communicate results of their investigations in appropriate ways (for example, written reports, graphic displays, oral presentations).
Mathematics - Standard 1. Students develop number sense and use numbers and number relationships in problem-solving situations and communicate the reasoning used in solving these problems. They are able to use relationships among fractions, decimals, and percents, including the concepts of ratio and proportion, in problem-solving situations.
Standard 4. Students use geometric concepts, properties, and relationships in problem-solving situations and communicate the reasoning used in solving these problems. Students are able to solve problems involving perimeter and area.
National Content Standards: Geography - Standard: 1. Understands the characteristic and uses of maps, globes, and other geographic tools and technologies.
Level III: Middle School/Jr. High (Grades 6-8)
Uses thematic maps (e.g. patterns of population, disease, economic features, rainfall, vegetation).
Mathematics - Standard: 4. Understands and applies basic and advanced properties of the concepts of measurement.
Level III: Middle School/Jr. High (Grades 6-8)
Understands formulas for measures (e.g. area, volume, surface area).
Selects and uses appropriate estimation techniques (e.g.) overestimate, underestimate, range of estimates) to solve real-world problems.
Theme: Wilderness Areas in terms of size, proximity to population centers, and natural features.
NPS focus: Public Law 39-535 (Organic Act), Public Law 88-577 Stat. 890 (Wilderness Act), Public Law (Eastern Wilderness Act),
Environmental concepts: Everything must fit how and where it lives (community).
Environmental learning hierarchy: Ecological principles, problem solving processes, decision making procedures
Background information: Wilderness preservation is a uniquely American concept, strengthened by tradition and historical precedence, and furthered by modern efforts to maintain an invaluable legacy. With fathers in John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert Marshall, and Aldo Leopold, the United States of America began a movement that today defines the greatness and magnitude of the American landscape. The actual definition originated in the USA with the belief that lands would maintain their highest value when left in their natural state. This conviction led to the creation of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This extensive network includes over 660 federally designated wilderness areas which are, respectively, managed by the National Park System, the U.S. Forest System, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. Wilderness areas exist within national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and within B.L.M. lands in all but six states. Their sizes vary just as diversely, ranging in area from five acres to nearly ten million.
Materials: Federal Lands in the Fifty States Map, National Geographic Society (1996). The National Wilderness Preservation System 1964-1999 Map, National Geographic/Trails Illustrated (1999), state highway map, topographic map, graph paper for each student. The Wilderness Act of 1964 (P.L. 88-577, 78 Stat. 890; 16 U.S.C. 1121 (note), 1131-1136).
I. INSTRUCTIONAL OUTCOMES
II. ANTICIPATORY SET
"Wilderness is land retaining its primeval character. What does that mean? Primeval, P-R-I-M-E-V-A-L. Let's look up this word in the dictionary. Primeval, primitive, belonging to the first or earliest period of time. It is where natural processes are still occurring and human activity is limited. Humans can only be visitors. This allows us to experience wild places that have remained relatively unchanged throughout history."
"Where can we find Wilderness? Wilderness Areas are found in wetlands, grasslands, swamps, deserts, forests, tundra, and mountain peaks. There are over 660 Wilderness Areas located in almost every state within our country. There are only six states that do not have Wilderness. Can you guess which ones they are? Kansas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, and Connecticut. The largest Wilderness Area is in the largest state, Alaska. It is in the largest National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias. It was established in 1980 and has almost 10,000,000 acres. The smallest Wilderness Area is located off the coast of Florida. It is Pelican Island Wilderness Area, established in 1970 and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is only 5 acres and was the first National Wildlife Refuge established in the United States by President Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt in 1903."
Who manages Wilderness Areas? They exist within: National Forests and Grasslands managed by the U.S. Forest Service; National Park sites protected by the National Park Service; National Wildlife Refuges managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Does anyone know the similarities or differences between the four federal agencies that manage our Wilderness Areas? Two of the agencies are guided by a multiple use act and two have a mission with a single purpose. The Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act (P.L. 86-517) established long-standing management policy for the forests for recreation, wildlife, fish, range forage, water and timber. The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are governed by this act. The National Park Service has a mission ...'to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.' The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is dedicated to the management of ...'wildlife refuges, areas for the protection and conservation of fish and wildlife that are threatened with extinction, wildlife ranges, game ranges, wildlife management areas, and waterfowl production areas.' Even though each of these four federal agencies manages their lands differently, Wilderness Areas that lie within each of their boundaries must be managed in a similar manner. The Wilderness Act of 1964 states that wilderness ...is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. ...retaining its primeval character, without permanent improvements or human inhabitation, protected to preserve its natural conditions. The four federal agencies that manage Wilderness Areas are committed to accomplishing this directive.
III. TEACHING PROCEDURE/METHODOLOGY
"Another type of map is a thematic map. These maps have a very specialized function. They are not designed for navigation. They are not used to get us from one location to another. They are designed to visually provide information. They show us information about a specific topic or theme. The map we are going to view today is a thematic map that represents Wilderness Areas managed by four federal agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, all within the Department of Interior. The fourth agency is in the Department of Agriculture. Can anyone tell me what agency that is? Correct, the U.S. Forest Service."
Distribute NWPS Maps. "As we look at the map of the National Wilderness Preservation System, we can see there are various colors associated with the Wilderness Areas. What do these colors represent? We can find the meaning of these colors by looking at the map legend. What is a legend? A legend is a story about an event. A legend on a map tells us a story about the map. It provides a brief description of what we are looking at on the map. Map legends tell us what the various symbols and colors represent. What else can we see on this map? State boundaries, rivers, large bodies of water, plains, and mountains. Where are most of the Wilderness Areas located? Why do you think they are found mostly in the western United States? When we settled this country from where did we start (east coast)? Where is most of our nation's population located (east coast)?"
"As we settled our country, moving inland from the east coast, we used most of the available land to build homesteads, farms, towns, and cities. By the time we reached the Mississippi River we realized that we had not set aside any 'open space' for use by all the people. It became apparent that we had better start setting land aside for the future. That is why our Wilderness Areas are found mostly in the western states on land owned by the federal government. The land in the east had been almost completely developed. The public lands in the west are special lands set aside for all of us to enjoy. Our country's Wilderness Areas are very special treasures that have been protected for the future."
"How can we find out how many acres (43,560 square feet or 1/640 of a square mile) each Wilderness Area has? We can use the Internet (http://www.wilderness.net/) and investigate each of the more than 660 locations. If we were to look at Wilderness Areas in metric units we would be using hectares instead of acres. To convert acres to hectares you need to multiply the number of acres by 0.405. If you know the hectares but want to know acres you can multiply the hectares by 2.471.
"We know the largest and smallest Wilderness Areas. Using the NWPS Map let's locate the Wrangell-St. Elias and Pelican Island Wilderness Areas. Now let's look at some Wilderness Areas across the United States.
IV. CHECK FOR STUDENT UNDERSTANDING
"Where are the largest areas (total acreage) of Wilderness located?" (Western U.S.)
"Where are the most (frequency) Wilderness Areas?" (CA, AK)
"Why do you think they are located in this region (western) of the U.S.?"
"Where is most of the Wilderness in our country? (West) Where are the population centers of our country?" (East)
"What are the geographical features of the regions where most Wilderness Area are located? (mountainous, rough terrain)"
"What Wilderness Areas are in our state? /Why are there no Wilderness Areas in our state." (there are 41 in Colorado)
"How large is the Wilderness Area in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park? How do you know this?" (15,599 acres; Wilderness.net website)
V. GUIDED PRACTICE
Distribute graph paper. "Using the graph paper, we need to establish the number of acres each square will represent so that we can make a thematic map of each of the Wilderness Areas I have selected. How many squares are there on the graph paper? To find out, I can count each one of the squares or I can multiply the number of squares on one side by the number of squares on the other side to determine the area of this rectangle. There are 952 squares on the graph paper. How many acres will each of the squares on the graph paper have to represent so that the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area will fit on this sheet of graph paper? Yes, 1,000 acres. How many squares will it take to represent the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area? (a little over 920). How many for the Okefenokee Wilderness Area? (almost 354).
"Let us estimate the size difference or the ratio in size of the two Wilderness Areas. What is the size difference of these two Wilderness Areas? Is the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area 10 times bigger than the Okefenokee? 5x? 2x as large? Yes! The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area is approximately two and one half times as large as the Okefenokee Wilderness Area. How can we mathematically prove this? We can divide the total acreage of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area (920,343) by the total acreage of the Okefenokee (353,981) and get 2.59. If we round that up we will get 2.6. To confirm our calculation we can multiply 353,981 x 2.6. Our answer should be the total acreage of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. We get 920,351! Almost the exact answer we were looking for. So we can say that the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area is 2.6 times larger than the Okefenokee Wilderness Area".
"Lets convert our acreage to hectares. A hectare is a metric measurement of surface area. It is equal to 10,000 square meters. In order to calculate the number of hectares, knowing the acreage, we multiple the number of acres by 0.405. The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area, 920,343 acres is 372,739 hectares. The Okefenokee Wilderness Area, 353,981 acres, is 143,362 hectares. If we were to draw thematic maps of the two Wilderness Areas using hectares instead of acres, would our ratio or scale remain the same? Yes. The scale or ratio can be any unit of measurement and will always remain the same. Using acres or hectares, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area will always be 2.59 times larger than the Okefenokee Wilderness Area. What if we used square inches? The ratio or scale would still be the same. The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area would still be 2.59 times larger than the Okefenokee.
"Using the graph paper, with each square representing 1,000 acres, let's draw to scale the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. It can be any shape you want it to. We are only trying to represent the size of the Wilderness Area. Now let's draw to scale the Okefenokee Wilderness Area inside the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. You can place it anywhere inside of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area that you want to. It can also be any shape. We are attempting to tell a story with a graph. We are showing people that one of these Wilderness Areas is 2.6 times as large as the other. Now let's place a legend on our map and a scale to describe what everything represents.
VI. INDEPENDENT PRACTICE
IX. REFERENCES CITED
X. RELATED INTERNET SITES
Did You Know?
The Black Canyon stretches far beyond the 14 miles within the national park. Including the canyon within Curecanti National Recreation Area and Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, the total length is 53 miles.