Friday, October 5, 2007

Alpine Tundra Vegetation of Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) has a lot vegetation and wild life to offer. However above 11,000 or 11,500 feet ASL, we are above the tree line and all the vegetation will give way to the Tundra. Thats the only kind of plant life that grows in these High Altitudes. The word Tundra itself means "Land of No Trees"

Tundra is subject to extreme weather of freezing temperature, high altitude winds, long periods of snow cover etc. During June to August the Tundra blooms and there is a wide variety of flowers.

Tundra grows at a very slow rate of less than an inch over 20 years. It would take hundreds of years for the Tundra to grow back when damaged. Visitors to the park are required to stay on established trails to avoid damage to the Tundra. However every time I have been to the park, I can see people running around, taking shortcuts, posting for photos etc inside the Tundra vegetation. When you bring children to the park, its your responsibility to educate them on the importance of the delicate environment they are in. What you see in this picture is Tundra vegetation at around 12500 feet ASL. the damage done by walking over them would take several years to heal due to the harsh environment and the slow growth rate of the plant. Damaging the Tundra could cost you a hefty Fine

I am told that there are over 330 variety of Alpine Tundra in the rockies. The best way to have an up close look is to take the Trail Ridge Road inside the RMNP. Please make sure that you educate your group regarding the importance of preserving the Tundra vegetation. Enjoy them from a safe Distance and Dont allow the children to run about on them. Summer time is a good time to visit this place if you want to see the Tundra Bloom. But the season is short and probaly somewhere around June. Please make sure to call the Park authorities and check before planning your trip.

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