Environment

Devils Tower - Unique Places in North America

Devils Tower became the first US National Monument on September 24, 1906.

Sometimes called the Bear Lodge Butte, the Devil’s Tower is an astonishing feature of nature made up of igneous rocks. The tower is in the grassland that surrounds the Black Hills. More generally, the Devil’s Tower is located in the Bear Lodge Mountains in northeastern Wyoming. Nearby places and features include Hulett, Sundance, and the Belle Fourche River.

Description

The Devil’s Tower rises to an incredible 1,267 feet higher than the Belle Fourche River. The summit itself rises to a whopping 5,112 feet above the level of the sea.

The name came about in the year 1875 during an expedition into the Black Hills area led by Colonel Richard Irving Dodge and a geologist by the name of Walter P. Jenney. A misinterpretation of the native name of the place brought about the current name, Devil’s Tower.

The habitat around the butte is characterized by extensive grasslands with a few trees. This habitat has made it possible for several species of wildlife to thrive including animals like the white-tailed deer and prairie dogs. Bird species include the likes of bald eagles and peregrine falcons.

Threats

The tower is sacred to a group of native tribes of America and is present in several sacred stories and histories of the tribes. The tribes include the Arapahoe, the Kiowa, the Lakota, and others. The importance of the tower to the local tribes has not diminished over time, and the area is still a site for traditional rituals such as offerings, prayer, and other traditional rites. In fact, tourists are advised that they should not move or touch any artifacts they may see.

The obvious threat to the tower is human beings. Even though tourists visiting it is a good thing, there are few threats tourists present. Tourists won’t know the significance of preserving the artifacts and the wildlife found there thus contributing to its destruction over time. Despite efforts by the managing authority to protect the culture and wildlife, humans will always be a threat.

Uniqueness

The uniqueness of the tower can be seen clearly from its majestic stature and general size. In addition, it is an important site for traditional ceremonies done by the local tribes. Its significance to the local tribes has even been recognized by the authorities managing the tower by closing the site to visitors in June every year. June is the month when several traditional ceremonies are done.

The butte is also the first US national monument after its recognition as one on September 24, 1906.

Tourism

Ever since the Devil’s Tower was proclaimed as a US national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in the year 1906, it has become a famous tourist attraction. The popularity of the site has only grown in recent times. One of the most popular activity is climbing.

The number of people visiting the site in recent years has soared to approximately 400,000 per year. Statistics show that around 1% of these visitors have climbed the tower. Astonishingly, these people have used traditional techniques and methods. The most common route for climbing is the Durrance Route after its establishment in 1983.

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