Some of the best times to see the Northern Lights are typically in the early fall and late winter, and some of the best places to experience this incredible lights how are on the nearly 72 million acres of Alaska’s public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The amazing natural spectacle is created when particles ejected by sun flares collide with Earth’s magnetic field. You don’t need to know the #science to appreciate the beauty, though. Photo by Jeremy Matlock, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Walking down the winding staircase from the Cape Blanco Lighthouse to the sandy beach below, you can stroll across the sandy beach as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. Waves and wind pound the surrounding bluffs at this western-most point of land in Oregon. Daytime views provide an unparalleled opportunity to watch California gray whales and other marine mammals swimming just offshore and the lighthouse itself is a fascinating glimpse into our history. Just another wonderful day on public lands. Photo by Lisa McNee, Bureau of Land Management.
Whoo whoo’s ready for Halloween? As the sun sets and costumed candy hunters emerge, so will owls like this great horned owl @mypubliclands Marion Creek Campground in Alaska. Great horned owls are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Their excellent night vision, acute hearing and silent flight makes them practically magical. Their eyes don’t move in their sockets, but they can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees to look in any direction, making them nature’s perfect, lovable creeper. Just remember: even when you’re not watching wildlife on public lands – they’re watching you. Muhaha! Happy Owloween! Photo by Kerry Howard (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Heading east out of Los Angeles, everything just starts to open up. Wide valleys and desert plains run out to distant mountain ranges. There’s a lot of room to roam. Mojave Trails National Monument, California spans 1.6 million acres and includes ancient lava flows and fossil beds, and spectacular sand dunes. The mysterious beauty is no mirage. Photo by Kyle Sullivan, Bureau of Land Management.
A landscape of mystery and wonder, the Volcanic Tablelands were formed by a cataclysmic eruption over 700,000 years ago. Spreading out across Owens Valley in California, the tablelands are now known for resilient wildlife, world-class climbing and ancient Native American petroglyphs. These dramatic drawings range from 1,000 to 10,000 years old and help tell the stories of America’s first people. They represent a priceless cultural treasure, especially to the Paiute-Shoshone. All visitors to the area are asked to treat the petroglyphs with respect and Leave No Trace. Photo by Jesse Pluim, Bureau of Land Management ( @mypubliclands ).
Take a walk through the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico, and you’ll feel like you’ve crossed over into another world. The natural elements have etched strange rock formations made of interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal and silt. With a myriad of unusual forms and shadows, this area is a photographer’s dream. Just be sure to come prepared with water and GPS or hire a guide. It’s important to come prepared, so the only way you get lost is in wonder. Photo by Jim Mangum (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The South Fork of the Snake River flows for 66 miles across southeastern Idaho, through high mountain valleys, rugged canyons and broad floodplains. An incredible resource for outdoor recreation, more than 300,000 anglers, campers, hikers, boaters and birders visit the South Fork each year. The river corridor is also home to an impressive array of wildlife including moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, river otter, beaver, fox, mink and 126 bird species, including 21 raptors, meriting a “National Important Bird Area” designation. Photo courtesy of Jim Shane, Bureau of Land Management Artist-In-Residence (@mypubliclands).
It’s National Public Lands Day! Today is the perfect time to get out and explore parks, refuges and recreation areas near you. There are also thousands of volunteer events across the country, so you can give a little back to these special places. Entry fees are waived today, so head outdoors and enjoy some active time in nature. Photo of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
It never hurts to have backup. Bobcats tend to be solitary cats, but it looks like this one has a friend. Excellent climbers and swimmers, bobcats can live up to 14 years and have the greatest range of all native North American wildcats. They are very adaptable to a wide range of habitat, making their dens among rocks and caves. Fierce hunters, they’ve been known to pounce on much bigger animals, including deer. Photo by by Alek Quintero, Bureau of Land Management.
It’s National Lighthouse Day! Standing 93 feet tall at the westernmost point of the basalt headland, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse has been a bright beacon of the night, guiding ships and their supplies along the west coast since 1873. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area features exhibits on seabirds and marine life as well as human history from the headland. Visitors can see the wheelhouse of a historic ship, check out a recreated rocky island and its inhabitants, and explore fascinating tidepools along the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Jon Fischer (www.sharetheexperience.org).