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Devils Tower
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-08-02 22:26:50 | Sundance, Wyoming, United States
Keywords: monument, mountain
Like most people of my generation, I first learned about Devil's Tower from the 1977 classic movie 'Close encounters on the third kind' and I was fascinated by that pillar rock standing in the middle of nowhere as was Richard Dreyfuss' character.

It raises 1267 feet (386 m) above ground and its side lead to think it emerged from ground, but it's the opposite in fact.  The hard rock of the Tower is a blend of rock and lava.  It is believed that the rock was in fact a volcano plug that solidified underground before erosion of the soft grounds around exposed it to the air.  The cracks are in fact the shrinking effect of cooling lava.

Many native tribes of the area consider these grounds sacred, just like the Black Hills where are located the Crazy Horse Monument and the Mount Rushmore.  Still today, it's common to see prayers, offerings and ribbons wrapped around trees near the Devil's Tower, as you see in the picture below.

Most of the tribes who occupied the area in the last thousand years or so used a name for the rock related to bears.  Either because bears are common in the area or because of a legend about the formation of that rock.  The most common native appellation was 'Bear Lodge'.  The name 'Devil's Tower' comes from a bad translation from one interpreter traveling with the early American explorers in the area. 

In 2005, an attempt was made to change the name of the location to reflect the thousand-years-old tradition by the native people, but the motion was rejected by fear of impacting the tourism industry.  Some 400 000 people are drawn to this mystic place every year. 

If you're a climber, you can get on top once you got a special registration with the park rangers.  Climbers are asked to stay off the rock during the month of June, because of tribes religious ceremonies around the Tower.

In 1906, the site was the first one designated as National Monument after a new law had been passed to give this power to the president.   To this day, the site is also known as the First National Monument.  President Theodore Roosevelt, chose to interpret the concept and declared over 15 national monuments, which were later integrated in the national parks system.  Roosevelt led the way to a large movement of nature preservation throughout the US.

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