ISBN #: 0922
Title: Expeditions to the San Francisco Peaks (Plateau Magazine, Vol 60/2)
Authors: III Arthur M. Phillips, Dorothy A. House, Barbara G. Phillips
Publication Date: 1989
The expeditions to the San Francisco Peaks was an important event in the early history of Flagstaff by bringing national attention to the Peaks and the southern Colorado Plateau. "Last of the Naturalists" Clinton Hart Merriam, the man who stood atop the San Francisco Peaks, his eyes following the sweep of mountain slope down to the pine forest at its base and beyond to the distant Painted Desert, was a giant among naturalists of his generation. "The San Francisco Peaks Expedition" In 1889, Merriam proposed to his superiors in the U.S. Department of Agriculture that he be authorized to carry out an extensive biological survey of a high mountain region where "different climates and zones of animal and vegetable life succeed each other from base to summit." "The San Francisco Peaks and the Life Zone Concept" Merriam's field work on the Peaks consisted of carefully mapping the extent of the various life zones as defined by major plant species. "Merriam's Contributions" While Merriam's generalizaiton's on temperature have been largely discounted, and with them the extrapolation of the zones throughout North America, the work carried out on the San Francisco Peaks, defining zones based on the actual distribution of animals and plants, remains viable.