Quiz and trivia about national parks #45


Pasture in a fall snowstorm, Yellowstone National Park / Rebecca Latson

After so many “notable” quizzes and quizzes, I thought I’d just do a “regular” quiz on which you can test your knowledge of national parks. What do you think you know about the parks you’ve visited that might appear as questions here? Maybe you will learn something new. Try the quiz first before checking the answers at the bottom.

1. How many of you have visited yellowstone national park and seen a buffalo herd, or experienced a buffalo jam? True or False: You can tell a bison’s mood by looking at its tail.

a truly

b) False

2. According to the Instagram account of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (@lewisandclarknht), saltpeter was one of the medical supplies used by Lewis and Clark on their Pacific Coast expedition. “Also called nitre or nitrate of potash”, saltpeter is an ingredient of:

a) tooth powder

b) gunpowder

c) foot powder

d) laxatives

Long House, Bandelier National Monument/National Park Service

3. If you happen to visit Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, you may notice that the cliff dwellings are only on one side of the Canyon. It’s because of :

some water

b) Ease of access

c) Sunlight

d) Food

4. According to an Instagram post by Point Reyes National Seashore (@pointreyesnps) coho salmon numbers in local streams are having a great spawning season due to all the rain the local streams have received. Female coho lay their eggs in a special nest called _____.

a hollow

b) Nidus

c) Muzzle

d) Red

5. During a visit Yosemite National Park, you might see some interesting pods that look like they came straight out of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. These are actually milkweed pods. True or False: Milkweed is poisonous to eat.

a truly

b) False

Juniper Berries, Cape Cod National Seashore / NPS – O. Burke

6. A visit to Cape Cod National Coast could get you close to those white berries you’ll see all over the cedars. These are called juniper berries. True or False: Juniper berries are not berries.

a truly

b) False

7. According to an Instagram post by @greatsmokynps, Great Smoky Mountains National Park supports a population of approximately _____ black bears.

a) 950

b) 1,200

c) 1,900

d) 2,000

Some strange speleothems hanging from the ceiling of Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park / Rebecca Latson

8. Take a look at the cave formations (concretions) coming from the ceiling of the Lehman Caves at Great Basin National Park. These formations are nicknamed ____.

a) Cave turnips

b) Cave parsnips

c) Cave Beets

d) Potatoes from the cellars

Treetops in the clouds, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Redwood National and State Parks / Rebecca Latson

9. Coastal redwoods are famous all along the California coast, with the exception of Point Reyes National Seashore. Why don’t the coast redwoods grow there?

a) It’s too dry

b) It’s too salty

c) It’s too humid

d) The soil is too alkaline

The Dormitory, Ranch-Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site/NPS – Mr. Surber

10. True or False: Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Montana is still a working ranch.

a truly

b) False


An icehouse at Fort Laramie National Historic Site / National Park Service

An icehouse at Fort Laramie National Historic Site / National Park Service

During those frigid days of falling snow and thick ice forming on the Laramie and North Platte rivers, the soldiers of Fort Laramie National Historic Site had the unenviable task of cutting and then storing the coolers. It was hard work and cold (no duh), but the coolers helped preserve food during the hottest days of summer. “With a bit of sawdust as insulation, these blocks of ice could last almost until the first snowfall. [of the next year].

A backlit coyote, Big Bend National Park / National Park Service

If you have already visited Big Bend National Park in Texas and wandered the desert at night, you may have been startled out of your starry daydream when you heard a sudden chorus of yelps, squeals and moans from a pack of coyotes. Coyotes use many vocalizations to communicate, are generally family units (coyotes mate for life), and are highly intelligent, “sometimes working together to capture larger prey”. To learn more about the coyotes present in this national park, Click here.

Yellow-faced bee, Haleakala National Park / National Park Service

“This little insect is a nalo meli maoli (Hawaiian yellow-faced bee), one of the most important pollinators of Haleakala National Park. They play a key role in the crater ecosystem by pollinating the ‘āhinahina (Haleakalā silversword) as well as many other endangered plants in the park. This species of solitary bee rarely stings…” To learn more about this bee and the other insects, arachnids and arthropods present in this national park, Click here.

Answers to the quiz

1a True

If a bison’s tail hangs down and changes naturally, then all is well. But if a buffalo’s tail is up, it’s best to move away! In fact, you should never be in the path of a bison in the first place. Observe them from a distance and use a telephoto lens to take a picture. To read more fun facts about North America’s largest mammal, Click here.


Saltpeter is an ingredient of gunpowder and “was extracted from Mammoth Cave in Kentucky in the early 1800s.


According to an Instagram post for Bandelier National Monument (@bandeliernps), the reason the cliff dwellings are only on one side of the Canyon is sunlight. “The south side of the Canyon gets more sun. This means that it freezes and thaws much faster than the north side, accelerating erosion and causing a straighter canyon rim with many more holes… Also, the three outer walls of the cliff dwellings were usually adobe or mud-fired clay. You can find this building material throughout the Southwest because it absorbs heat from the sun during the day and slowly releases it at night. The cliff dwellings on the south-facing wall of the Canyon were therefore much warmer during the coldest and shortest days of the year.


Although all of the above are synonymous with a nest, redds “are nests dug by a female [salmon] by making rapid movements of its tail which dislodges the gravel. She has a depression that is about as deep and as long as her body. Eggs and sperm are released in this nest where they will be buried by the gravel that she dislodges while digging upstream. She can release 1,500 or more eggs in each nest.

5a True

milkweed is toxic to eat, but it is a primary food source for monarch butterflies. These butterflies “have developed an immunity to this toxicity…By ingesting the poisonous plant in its larval stage, the monarch butterfly itself is then also toxic to insect-eating predators.” To learn more about milkweed, Click here.

6a True

Juniper berries are actually the female seed cones of juniper, which is a conifer.


“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park supports a population of approximately 1,900 black bears, with two black bears per square mile.


Cave formations seem to attract food-related nicknames, such as cave popcorn, cave burger, bacon rind, and in this case, cave turnips. To learn more about the cave formations found in this national park, Click here.


According to an Instagram post by Point Reyes National Seashore (@pointreyesnps), coast redwoods are intolerant of the salt spray, so the forests you see on Inverness Ridge” are dominated by Douglas firs, Bishop pines and other trees and shrubs… A “stand” (or group) of redwoods lives in the southeast corner of the coastline, protected from salt exposure by Inverness Ridge.

10a true

The Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site is still a working ranch, “with about 90 head of cattle, six draft horses, two saddle horses, and about 20 chickens.” To learn more about the cattle on this ranch, Click here.


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