Happy Birthday, Glacier Bay National Park! Designated from a national monument to a national park on this day in 1980, Glacier Bay covers 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords. From sea to summit, the Alaska park offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration. And the most incredible blue water you’ll ever see. Photo by Cliff LaPlant (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Autumn is a spectacular time to visit Santee National Wildlife Refuge with its cypress forest turning shades of red. This wildlife refuge is located on the north shore of Lake Marion – the largest lake in South Carolina – and is home to a wide diversity of wildlife species. It’s a major wintering area for ducks and geese, as well as a nesting and stopover area for neo-tropical migratory birds, raptors, shore birds and wading birds. Visitors can take in the amazing fall colors, try their luck fishing in Lake Marion or enjoy the sight and sounds of all the birds. Photo by Marc Epstein, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The rolling plains and scattered wetlands of Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge in Montana were created by receding glaciers more than 12,000 years ago. Today, these lands and waters serve as habitat for a great variety of wildlife, especially migrating waterfowl. Depending on the season, the sky can hold a lone eagle, fill with waves of tundra swans or show dramatic sunset colors. Photo by Christal Steele (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Forested hills slope down to the banks of the mighty Mississippi River at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. The yellow leaves of maple trees are catching the sunlight, providing a lovely and soothing atmosphere for hikers, anglers, kayakers and photographers. Other autumn visitors include thousands of migrating birds pausing at the refuge as they make their way south. Photo by Jessica Bolser, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Tomorrow is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Held every year since 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day celebrates outdoor sports, and how hunters and anglers contribute to conservation. Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned sportsman or woman, your public lands are some of the best places to wet a line or bag the big one. Just ask the people at Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi, a very popular place for outdoor sports. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Visitors to City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho often get really into geology. With classic examples of features like tafoni, panholes, xenoliths and intrusions, the park makes an excellent outdoor classroom. But if you don’t find the rocks that fascinating, you can still enjoy the natural beauty of this rugged landscape. Photo by National Park Service.
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.
The violet light of sunset reflects on the water at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland, while this great blue heron concentrates on its next meal. Great blue herons live year-round in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and spend most of their waking time fishing. Growing up to 4 feet tall with a wingspan of more than 6 feet, they are graceful birds flying through the air or wading in the water. Where is your favorite place to watch great blue herons and other birds? Photo by Kaila Ferrufino (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Glimpsed from Seattle, Washington, or viewed from up close, Mount Rainier at sunset is an incredible sight. Trails throughout Mount Rainier National Park offer amazing chances to take pictures of the mountain, walk through colorful wildflower meadows, hang out next to still alpine lakes and encounter fascinating wildlife. One visit might not be enough. Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.
If patience was a plant, it would be a Bristlecone pine. Cautiously growing in the harsh terrain of Great Basin National Park in Nevada, these amazing trees can grow to be more than 5,000 years old. Gnarled, twisted and scattered in groves on rocky ground, Bristlecone pines make excellent subjects for photos, especially with a night sky or sunset backdrop. Photo by Thomas Sikora (www.sharetheexperience.org).