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.
In the blink of an eye, fall gives way to winter weather at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Before the leaves even have a chance to drop, snow swoops in to dust this gorgeous landscape in a dramatic white blanket. Don’t worry, though. The end of fall doesn’t mean the end of fun. Visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, skiing and sledding in the park. Just plan ahead and be sure to layer up with insulating, waterproof clothing, wear sunglasses, use sunscreen and carry water. Photo of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
October is a busy time at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Campgrounds fill up and Skyline Drive sees an increase in traffic. Everyone wants to marvel at the fall beauty of the mountains and forests. The park is over 100 miles long and spans a wide elevation range. Fall color conditions can vary dramatically from area to area. Weather affects the color from day to day and even hour to hour. If this feels frantic to you, don’t worry. Shenandoah has many trails and overlooks where you can settle down and find a peaceful moment, looking up at the streaming sunlight and the fluttering autumn leaves. Photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.
Certain places evoke a specific feeling. Redwood National and State Parks in California definitely qualifies. “When I think of the Redwood forest, I think of giant trees, lush green ferns, fog and beams of light shining through the forest canopy. This is exactly the feeling that I set out to capture during a recent trip to the Redwoods. While driving through the Del Norte Redwoods, I saw the light bursting through the trees, so I quickly pulled the car over, jumped out and ran into the forest, hoping that the light would last long enough to capture a few images,” said photographer David Dinette. We think he got it. Photo courtesy of David Dinette.
Photographer Nate Luebbe’s passion is taking gorgeous photos in public lands. This shot comes from Glacier National Park inMontana. Nate told us about how he captured this breath-taking image: “After an unusually strong storm in September closed all the roads into the park last month, I was forced to find new angles to work with. Thankfully, in a place like Glacier, there’s beauty around every corner, and we were treated to this spectacular twilight moonset over a partially frozen river. It’s moments like this that inspire me to keep exploring.” Photo courtesy of Nate Luebbe.
I think he likes you. Fall is the season for romance for moose at Denali National Park in Alaska. In fields the color of flames, bull moose are hunks of burning love, battling other males and aggressively courting females. They can stand more than six feet tall at the shoulder and are crowned by massive antlers, making them especially formidable during rut. Once the season passes, so does their urge to mingle. Moose tend to be solitary creatures most of the year. Photo by Hongxun Gao (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.
The mighty Mississippi River flows past Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin early in its 2,300 mile voyage to the Gulf of Mexico. In the fall, migrating birds and monarch butterflies likewise travel south, looking for food and warmer temperatures. Other wildlife remain, keeping the refuge active through winter. As the leaves fall, it’s easier to spot eagles in trees, rabbits bounding through fields, foxes chasing mice and river otters playing on the banks of the river. Photo by Michael Boerger (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Mount Rainier National Park in Washington is a place to let your spirit and feet run wild. From the hub of Rainier’s snow-capped peak, miles of trails spread out across the backcountry, offering endless adventures and stunning views. Like walking through rooms in nature’s mansion, you can stroll through an alpine meadow past a shimmering blue lake before hiking over a mountain pass into a deep evergreen forest. Every turn is a surprise and every moment is a treasure. Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.
The end of the day provokes purple skies and tranquil waters at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. This brackish tidal marsh is a vital waterfowl sanctuary. It was created to support birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway, and does that and so much more. All week long we’ve been celebrating the varied and critical roles of national wildlife refuges and Blackwater is no different. The tidal marsh buffers storm waters, slows erosion and absorbs pollutants before they reach the bay. Photo courtesy of Youchun Yao.