Happy 40th birthday, Badlands National Park! This South Dakota park was established on this day in 1978, and it’s anything but bad. Long before it was a park, the Badlands’ rugged beauty has drawn visitors from around the world. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Today, the park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets live. Photo by William Green (www.sharetheexperience.org).
On this day in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was officially dedicated. A universal symbol of freedom and democracy, the statue was designated as a national monument in 1924, and the National Park Service has been caring for the colossal statue since 1933. Photos by National Park Service.
On this day in 1867, the Territory of Alaska was formally transferred from Russia to the United States, and in 1917, Alaska Day was created to celebrate this historic moment. From stunning mountains to winding rivers that snake through valleys, there are over 222 million acres of public lands in Alaska and much of it’s managed by the Interior Department. This beauty scene is Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River. The river flows west past the jagged limestone ridges of the White Mountains and is a popular spot for river adventurers. It’s great for a float trip, wildlife viewing and fishing. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
#FindYourWay to deep canyons and truly wild streams along the Little Jacks Creek Wild and Scenic River in Idaho. Protected in 2009 and surrounded by wilderness in Southern Idaho’s Owyhee Canyonlands, the multi-tiered cliffs and steep grassy slopes of Little Jacks Creek plunge almost 1,000 feet to the streambed, which provides habitat for Redband trout. The Little Jacks Creek canyon is a prime example of high desert fluvial geology; vertical and angular rock lines create a mosaic amid coarse-textured, red, brown, or blackish eroded basalt cliffs, often glazed with yellow to light green micro-flora. Bighorn sheep are a main attraction for visiting hikers, so be sure to keep your eyes open! Little Jacks Creek is one of 209 river segments in 40 states that are part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, which has protected 12,754 miles of free-flowing rivers over the last 50 years! Photo by Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Today is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in American history – the Battle of Antietam. More than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederacy’s first major invasion of the North and gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s hard to imagine the horror that ravaged this Maryland community when you walk the now peaceful fields of Antietam National Battlefield. Photo by National Park Service.
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, four commercial airliners were hijacked and used to attack the U.S. – two planes were flown into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City and a third into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard the fourth plane, Flight 93, the U.S. Capitol was saved. The four aircraft strikes killed nearly 3,000 people, the deadliest attack on American soil by a foreign entity.
Today the National Park Service, its volunteers, and its partners work to honor their sacrifice and to try to understand more fully the legacy of Flight 93 and the other events of 9/11. We will #NeverForget.
Photo from the Flight 93 National Memorial by Tami A. Heilemann, Interior Department.
On this day in 1864, President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant, protecting the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley – an area that would later become Yosemite National Park. It was the first time the government protected land because of its natural beauty so that people could enjoy it. Thanks to John Muir’s passionate writing to further protect the delicate ecosystem of the High Sierra, Yosemite National Park became our nation’s 3rd national park 26 years later. Learn more: https://on.doi.gov/2xPYUz3. Photo courtesy of Menx Cuizon.
On May 27, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opened to the public. Over 80 years later, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous and beautiful bridges in the world because of its spectacular location, graceful lines, Art Deco detailing and emblematic color. With towers extending 746 feet into the sky and over 100 feet beneath the bay, the bridge is also an engineering marvel. Visitors can walk or bike the entire length of the 1.7 mile-long bridge, but dress warmly and don’t forget to check out nearby Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Photo by Dave Gordon (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Established in 1902, this stunning Oregon park is a true natural wonder, famous for its deep blue lake and endless recreational opportunities. Check out 12 things you might not know about Crater Lake: https://on.doi.gov/2rZxPW4
Happy birthday, Glacier National Park! On this day in 1910, President William Taft signed a bill into law establishing this Montana park – making it our nation’s 10th national park. 108 years later, Glacier remains the Crown of the Continent with glacier-carved peaks and valleys, pristine turquoise lakes and streams, and dense ancient forests for all to enjoy: https://on.doi.gov/glacier. What is your favorite memory at Glacier?
Photo of Wild Goose Island by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.