Death Valley National Monument
California


Death Valley National Monument

Death Valley, celebrated in history for its tragic episode in the California gold-rush drama of '49 and famed throughout the scientific world as a region of weird natural wonders, became a national monument on February 11, 1933, by Presidential proclamation.

The 2,500 square miles included in the monument embrace Death Valley itself and parts of the rought-hewn mountains that rise abruptly on all sides to guard its colorful desolation. The Amargosa River provides the only natural entrance. To the west towers the Panamint Range and to the east the Amargosas, with the Last Chance Range pinching the north and the Avawatz Mountains blocking the south.

Death Valley National Monument lies in the southeastern corner of Inyo County and borders the California-Nevada boundary line. It forms the northern point of the great Mojave Desert region. Approixmately 400 square miles of the floor of the valley lie below sea leveel, and Bad Water, 276 feet below mean tide, is the lowest point in the United States.

In addition to its record for low altitude, Death Valley also holds the record for high temperatures. In a standard instrument shelter at Furnace Creek 134 degrees have been recorded. Out on the salt beds without benefit of shade, it undoubtedly is much higher. However, Death Valley is not always hot. The winter season, which begins the latter part of October, is ideal. The days are warm and sunny, the nights cool, clear, and invigorating. The majority of the areas under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service are best known for their summer attractions. Death Valley rounds out the system by providing a vast recreational area with a mild winter climate.

For consistent fair weather, the valley has an outstanding reputation. One record for an entire year showed only 14 days out of the total 365 as not clear. Few regions in the world can boast of such a record. Because of the extreme dryness of the atmosphere, Death Valley has the same sort of climate that has made other desert regions famous as health resorts.


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