Why does Coyote cry?
OK, little ones, sit down and I'll tell you a story. Have you ever heard the howl of Coyote? Maybe you've seen a picture of him howling at the moon. Do you know why he does that, and why he's so sad?
Once, a long, long time ago, the night sky became very black, except for the stars, which twinkled very brightly. Coyote saw the brightest star in the sky and decided that he had to go to it. When morning came, he climbed up to the highest peak and waited for his star to come.
Soon it was dark, and all the stars came out shining. Coyote found his star -- the brightest in the sky -- and asked her to come and be his wife. He had fallen in love with her, but she said no, she would not be his wife.
Learning to drive slowly can be fun!
Coyote begged and grabbed the star to pull her to earth. But stars are sky creatures and do not want to touch the earth, so she screamed at him, "NO!" Her yell startled him, and he fell back so hard that he crashed through the peak of the mountain and fell down through its center!
Coyote was so sad that he cried and cried until the mountain filled up with tears and overflowed into a lake. Sometimes you can still hear him crying for his lost love.
And that, children, is how Native Americans believe Crater Lake was made. It's the deepest lake in our country, and the 7th deepest in the whole world. You can visit it - it's in the state of Oregon, surrounded by mountains - and when you do, remember the man who saved it for us.
His name was William Steele, and he visited Crater Lake after reading about it on the newspaper his lunch was wrapped in! It was so pretty that he decided to make sure it always stayed that way. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt set aside Crater Lake as a National Park. Thanks to them we can enjoy its beauty today.
There was another man who worked just as hard to save land that he thought was beautiful. This time it was a forest, and this time the man's name was William Kent.
Around the same time, lots of people were moving to Northern California and building houses to live in. They were using up lots of wood and cutting down lots of trees, and William Kent worried that they would cut down a bunch of very tall, very beautiful redwood trees that he loved so much. The trees were so tall that their leaves blocked out the sunlight!
So what did William Kent do? Well, he was a very rich man, so he bought the forest! He paid $45,000, and then asked President Roosevelt to set it aside as a National Park. The President said yes, and today you and I and people from all over the world can visit Muir Woods, named after another man who loved nature.
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