Seven new national parks in Alaska were established on this day in 1980. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act extended varying degrees of protection to over 157 million acres of public lands, doubling the size of the national park system. From ice-covered peaks to turquoise fjords, countless glaciers, forests, tundra, rivers and wildlife were added to the state’s conservation jewels. A lifetime of exploring and a heart the size of Denali are not enough to fully appreciate the wonders found on these lands and waters. Photo of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
The paths are calling and you must go.
Share your hiking stories with us, visit a trail or plan your next adventure because it’s National Take a Hike Day!
Photo at Glacier National Park in Montana along the Highline Trail by Alyssa Herren (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Happy 129th birthday, Sequoia National Park! Standing in the company of giant sequoias and looking up, what do you feel? For many, it is both a magical and dizzying experience. Established in 1890, Sequoia National Park in California was the first park created to protect a living organism. Trying to capture these magnificent trees in photos is difficult, as they can grow as tall as a 26-story building, averaging between 180 and 250 feet tall. Warning: you may be overwhelmed by the beauty of these towering trees. Photo of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks by Gourab Sabui (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Happy birthday to the Wilderness Act! Wilderness designation now protects over 111 million acres of pristine wild places, providing all Americans a chance for soul-stirring adventures in nature. The Wilderness Act states that wilderness areas “shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people” – and they’ve provided us that and so much more. Wilderness areas continue to inspire us and are vital to our physical and mental health. Photo of rainfall over Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve in Alaska by Neal Herbert, National Park Service.
If you find yourself surrounded by dunes, canyons and four of the highest peaks in Texas, you’re at Guadalupe Mountains National Park! The park has one of the world’s best examples of a fossil reef, dating back to the Permian period. Over millions of years, the elements of wind and rain have eroded sediments leaving the resistant limestone of ancient reef exposed. Beautiful from all sides, El Capitan is one of many photogenic features to enjoy. Photo by Shu Xu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Inspiration point overlooks winding ridges and a dazzling view of Channel Islands National Park in California. Close to the mainland, but far enough to have low visitation, the park encompasses five of the eight California Channel Islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara). Aside from stunning and serene views, this park supports incredible wildlife diversity. The Channel Islands are home to over 2,000 plant and animal species, of which 145 are found nowhere else in the world. Photo by Gary Fua (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Part of Gateway National Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay is a wildlife refuge within sight of the New York City skyscrapers. Walk along the water, kayak, boat or birdwatch and take pleasure in the serene views of the open bay. One of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeast, Jamaica Bay provides vital woods, fields and marshes for wildlife to flourish. The National Park Service stewards this remarkable place that serves as a break from the bustling metropolis of the city. Photo by Micael Fano (www.sharetheexperience.org).