We had another one of those “Wowser” days. We spent several hours touring Mesa Verde National Park. We were both surprised to see how much driving it took to see the park. We must have driven 50 miles or more. I was also surprised to read it was the first National Park of it’s kind to be preserved.
On June 29, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park to "preserve the works of man," the first national park of its kind. Today, the continued preservation of both cultural and natural resources is the focus of the park's research and resource management staff.
Preserving the “Works of Man”
Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to 1300. Today the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.
About 1,400 years ago, long before Europeans explored North America, a group of people living in the Four Corners region chose Mesa Verde for their home. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they left their homes and moved away. Mesa Verde National Park preserves a spectacular reminder of this ancient culture.
It is a fascinating place to explore. We did as much as we could in one day, you really need to visit this park several times to see it all. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story. Check back later for more from Colorado.