Rays of sunlight create a mesmerizing glow that illuminates Yosemite National Park in California. Spectacular autumn colors decorate the trees, enhanced by the morning’s soft light. As we shift from busier seasons into quieter ones for most of the national parks, take a minute to reflect. Winter is coming, and it’s sure to be its very own incredible adventure. Seasons may shift, but the resonating beauty offered at Yosemite continues to ignite the imagination and hearts of many. Photo by Menchor Cuizon (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Fall weather frolic, anyone? Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colorado offers 10 miles of trails, golden fall colors and views of wildlife– such as leaping mule deer, bison, prairie dogs, migrating birds and coyotes. Chilly weather means it’s the time of year to dress warmly and take a stroll down your favorite path, listen to the rustling leaves and enjoy those fleeting moments of autumn. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Photographer Patrick Rodden captured glorious orange and purple skies over Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. He explains, “It’s a park with so many opportunities from hiking to boating and excellent wildlife viewing. Not only did I enjoy the terrestrial views, but I also had an incredible time watching the sky. This photo was taken from Rock Harbor on my last night on the island. It was a phenomenal sight to end a week of hiking. There is nothing like a midwestern sunset in all of its raw beauty and power.” Photo and words courtesy of Patrick Rodden.
Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park, their summer waters eventually running into the Gulf of Alaska. Tens of thousands of years of glacial carving and strong waves have scoured much of the existing shoreline in the fjords, creating a dramatic meeting of land and ocean. Visitors with a sense of adventure can brave the waves and experience the awe-inspiring power of a tidewater glacier, while dipping a hand into these frigid blue waters. Photo by Courtney Wright (www.sharetheexperience.org).
A new day begins, and summer’s brilliance radiates at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The sun burns through the fog and bursts through a burl oak tree on a serene Minnesota morning, casting light upon magnificent wildflowers. Goldfinches, song sparrows and yellow warblers are common to see this time of year on the refuge, and the warmth of summer brings a variety of dragonfly and damselfly species. Photo by Erik Fremstad @erikfremstad (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Step into the spectacular underground caves at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Follow the Big Room route, a one-mile, self-guided trail as it leads you through decorative geologic formations and highlights like the Hall of Giants and the Bottomless Pit. Marvel at the intricacies of the stalagmites and stalactites– all romantically lit but challenging to convey with a photo. With over 100 limestone caves, look close as you explore, and you may see fossilized remains of marine animals like snails and nautilus. Photo by Michael Larson, National Park Service.
One of Interior’s nine bureaus, the Bureau of Land Management was established on July 16, 1946, when the General Land Office and the U.S. Grazing Service were merged. More than 70 years later, the BLM remains a small agency with a big job – managing public lands for multiple-uses like recreation and natural resource development on more than 245 million acres of public land. From working with family ranchers to big business, protecting untrammeled wilderness and wildlife habitat, and providing visitors with epic adventures in stunning settings, 10,000 passionate employees work hard every day for the benefit of present and future generations. Photo of the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Walk alongside wild roses in bloom and watch summer unfold at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge in Washington. Explore the freshwater marshes, grasslands, coastal dunes, old growth forests and beaches – and get to know one of the most pristine estuaries in the United States, Willapa Bay. Wet fields and soggy forests provide incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors may spot residents such as Roosevelt elk, long-tailed weasels, black bears, shorebirds, and spawning salmon. Walk the Art Trail boardwalk with friends and take in the sounds and sights of summer. Photo by Andy Zahn (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Raise a hoof if your dad is the greatest of all time. Happy Father’s Day to all you G.O.A.T.s. Photo of a mountain goat at Olympic National Park in Washington by Spencer James (www.sharetheexperience.org).