After hiking past the turbulent Tanalian Falls, the serenity of Kontrashibuna Lake is a pleasant surprise. Just one of many stunning landscapes at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve in Alaska, the lake’s frigid waters are colored a light blue by glacial dust and lap at the edges of rich forests and rugged mountains. Fall colors make the area even more popular with intrepid visitors. Photo by W. Hill, National Park Service.
Protected as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the South Fork of the John Day River flows from south to north through central Oregon, providing unparalleled recreational opportunities including fishing, swimming, hiking, camping and birdwatching. The views here are colorful, striking and unique. Basalt outcrops, Ponderosa pine, and Douglas and white fir intermix with juniper, sagebrush and native bunchgrasses to create a distinct pattern on the rugged canyon slopes. Photo by Greg Shine, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Today is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in American history – the Battle of Antietam. More than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederacy’s first major invasion of the North and gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s hard to imagine the horror that ravaged this Maryland community when you walk the now peaceful fields of Antietam National Battlefield. Photo by National Park Service.
President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Bison Range on May 23, 1908, when he signed legislation authorizing funds to purchase suitable land for the conservation of bison – making it the first time that Congress appropriated tax dollars to buy land specifically to conserve wildlife. Since then, the National Bison Range in Montana has played an important role in the successful recovery of these magnificent animals. Today, 350-500 bison call this refuge home. Photo courtesy of Bob Wick.
Summer green becomes autumn orange in the blink of an eye at Denali National Park in Alaska. Termination dust – what Alaskans call the high altitude snow that signals the end of summer – coats mountains and sprinkles onto valleys. The red leaves of blueberry bushes carpet the landscape and offer bears a last dessert before hibernation. It’s a feast for the eyes. Photo from a previous fall by Tim Rains, National Park Service.
New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along 53 miles of the New River as it tumbles over waterfalls and winds through picturesque valleys. High points offer dramatic and expansive views of mountains, forests and the rugged river. Descending closer to the flowing waters gives visitors a chance to scramble over smooth stones and marvel at one of the park’s many waterfalls. Sandstone Falls marks the transition zone of the New River from a broad river of wide bottomlands, to a narrow mountain river roaring through a deep boulder strewn gorge. Photo by National Park Service.
Located along the northeast coast of Massachusetts, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge provides feeding, resting and nesting habitat for a wide variety of migratory birds. The refuge includes more than 4,700 acres of diverse habitats – from sandy beaches and dunes to cranberry bogs, maritime forests and freshwater marshes. The most abundant habitat on the refuge is salt marsh, one of the most productive ecosystems in nature. It’s a great place to see your favorite birds as the fall migrations begin. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Public lands are some of the best places to enjoy the dark skies. Atop the Cumberland Plateau in Kentucky and Tennessee, Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area offers presentations that guide visitors through the night sky, and telescope viewing of stars, planets, nebulae, galaxies and the International Space Station. It’s an out of this world experience! Photo by Josh Bandy, National Park Service.
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, four commercial airliners were hijacked and used to attack the U.S. – two planes were flown into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City and a third into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard the fourth plane, Flight 93, the U.S. Capitol was saved. The four aircraft strikes killed nearly 3,000 people, the deadliest attack on American soil by a foreign entity.
Today the National Park Service, its volunteers, and its partners work to honor their sacrifice and to try to understand more fully the legacy of Flight 93 and the other events of 9/11. We will #NeverForget.
Photo from the Flight 93 National Memorial by Tami A. Heilemann, Interior Department.
Curecanti National Recreation Area in Colorado is a series of three reservoirs along the once wild Gunnison River. The reservoirs that make up Curecanti today are a destination for water-based recreation high in the Rocky Mountains. Best known for salmon and trout fishing, Curecanti also offers opportunities for hiking, boating, camping and bird watching. Photo by Paul Santellan, National Park Service.