Are you feeling the Halloween mood yet? While we love taking a walk in the woods, sometimes it can feel a little spooky. At Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland, when the mist floats through the forest and the owls hoot from the trees, you could feel a little shiver. The sound of a snapping branch can startle you and your mind can imagine the strangest things. But there’s really nothing to fear here. Since the park’s boundaries include the Presidential Retreat of Camp David, it’s actually a really safe place. Photo by T. Zygmunt, National Park Service.
Today marks the 157th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. With over 23,000 combined casualties (over 3,600 dead) suffered by both the Union and Confederate armies, it remains the bloodiest day in American history. It’s hard to imagine the horror that ravaged this Maryland community when you walk the now peaceful fields of Antietam National Battlefield. Our public lands are managed for their natural and cultural importance. Among them are dozens of battlefields like Antietam. More than a century and a half after the guns fell silent, battlefields preserved for their historical impact now serve as critical natural landscapes, habitat for wildlife and remarkable outdoor classrooms. Photo by National Park Service.
The calendar says it’s spring, but it still looks like winter at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois. The snow and fog glow in the purple gloom on this April morning. Despite the chill, the wetlands, forests and prairies of the refuge are great places to see migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Listen for their calls in the morning. Photo by Mitchell Baalman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
On foggy mornings, an eerie calm falls over Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi. The water is still and the air is thick. With 48,000 acres of forests, fields and waters, the refuge is excellent habitat for eagles, alligators and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Visitors enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking, and wildlife photography and observation. The refuge also serves as an outdoor classroom for Mississippi State University and other local educational institutions. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Golden sunrise light streams through the pinelands at Everglades National Park in Florida. Across the park’s 1.5 million acres, thick forests transition to wide wetlands and coastal lowlands; each distinct ecosystem dependent on water conditions and a few inches of elevation. On your next adventure, explore these different lands and waters in search of your perfect Everglades moment. Photo courtesy of Andrew R. Slaton.
Winter has Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge in its icy grip. For countless generations, the Upper Tanana Valley of Alaska has served as a natural travel corridor – for wildlife, native people and explorers. Despite the blanket of snow, many animals live here year round – including the Great Grey Owl, which preys on small rodents. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A purple and pink winter sunrise paints the sky at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. It’s a scene Charles M. Russell would have enjoyed. The refuge was named in recognition of this colorful western artist who often portrayed the refuge’s landscape in his paintings. Along with the stunning scenery and amazing wildlife, the refuge boasts a fantastic history that includes mountain men, Native Americans and dinosaurs. Photo by Mary Jo Hill, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Fall snow drifts across Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. By now, Dream Lake, Bear Lake and Emerald Lake are frozen, but the frosty beauty of these areas still draw hikers throughout the winter. Swirling clouds and cracked ice make gorgeous pictures, but please be safe and carry the proper gear. Photo by Carlton Fuqua (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Tennessee protects the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. The area boasts miles of scenic gorges and sandstone bluffs, is rich with natural and historic features, and provides visitors with a wide range of outdoor recreational activities including hunting, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding and whitewater paddling. This time of year, you can also enjoy the stunning fall colors. Photo by National Park Service.
Surrounded by farmland and development, Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana is critical habitat for the diverse wildlife that call the area home. The grasslands, forests and wetlands of the refuge support animals from otters and deer to a wide variety of birds. Fall is a great time to see waterfowl or catch a sunrise over one of the refuge’s lakes. Photo by D. Stanley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.