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Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Bishop, California. "Great Basin Bristlecone Pine are believed to be around 1,000-4,800 years old. Due to cold temperatures, dry soils, high winds, & short growing seasons, the trees grow very slowly. One of the oldest living trees on earth, just shy of 5,000 years old, is nicknamed “Methuselah” (after the longest-lived person in the Bible)." (USDA Forest Service visitor info: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5129900 .)

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Best national parks: Avoid the crowds

Great Basin National Park. Based around Wheeler Peak, the Great Basin has 5,000-year-old bristlecone pines, glacial moraines, and the limestone Lehman Caves. It has some of the country's darkest night skies, and there are animal species including Townsend's big-eared bat, Pronghorn, and Bonneville cutthroat trout.

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Lehman Caves Delicate rare limestone formations make the Lehman Caves one of the most wonderful underground chambers on the globe. Located in the Great Basin National Park, Nevada, USA, the cave was discovered in 1885 by Absalom Lehman.

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America’s Ancient Marvel: Great Basin National Park

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