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Death Valley National Park Overview

Death Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous US at almost 5,300 square miles (14,000 square kilometers). Here are some fun Death Valley facts:
       Size: ~3.3 million acres
       Length: ~140 miles
       Visitation: ~ 1 million each year
       Annual budget: ~ $7 million
       Hottest Recorded Temperature: 134 F (57 C) in 1913 (a world record at the time, that has since been exceeded)
       Highest Elevation: 11,049 feet (Telescope Peak)
       Lowest Elevation: 282 feet below sea level (Badwater Basin)
       Average Annual Rainfall: 1.96 inches
       Historical Mining: gold, silver, lead, tungsten, copper, borax and talc

From the National Park Service brochure of Death Valley National Park.

"Great extremes haunt this hottest, driest, lowest national park. Extremes in temperature and elevation create scenic vistas and ecological niches that host startling biological diversity. This desert supports nearly 1,000 native plant species and harbors fish, snails, and other aquatic animals found nowhere else. To the uninitiated, Death Valley National Park appears to be a vast, empty wasteland, but to the aficionado it is a place of wonder and endless stories. The colorful and rugged terrain shouts tales of cataclysmic forces that thrust rock layers upward and of opposing erosional forces battling to tear them down. Desert winds whisper romances of the past - of the '49ers lured by the glitter of gold and of Chinese laborers scraping borax-rich crystals from the valley floor. They spin dustdevil yarns of partnership between a teller of tall tales and his castle-builders. And, throughout time and into the future, the Timbisha Shoshone people live sustained by their "Valley of life."

To protect its extraordinary natural and cultural landscape, in 1994 Congress changed Death Valley from a national monument to a national park, enlarged the park to its present size, and designated most of it as wilderness. In this land of stories, meaningful experiences await those who explore."