Protected as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the South Fork of the John Day River flows from south to north through central Oregon, providing unparalleled recreational opportunities including fishing, swimming, hiking, camping and birdwatching. The views here are colorful, striking and unique. Basalt outcrops, Ponderosa pine, and Douglas and white fir intermix with juniper, sagebrush and native bunchgrasses to create a distinct pattern on the rugged canyon slopes. Photo by Greg Shine, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
One of the earliest wildlife refuges, Quillayute Needles was created by Teddy Roosevelt to protect and enhance habitat for seabird populations. Today 13 species of seabirds nest and raise their young on these windswept islets, rocks, reefs and islands that stretch along Washington’s coast. Black oystercatchers tend pebbly nests at the water’s edge, common murres lay gravity defying eggs on barren ledges, and tufted puffins burrow their nests deep into the loamy bluffs. Kelp beds surrounding the islands provide territory for a growing reintroduced sea otter population to cavort. While the refuge is closed to human disturbance because of it’s fragile and remote nature, visitors can view the refuge and its inhabitants at one of the several beaches in Olympic National Park. Photo by Melissa Hahn (www.sharetheexperience.org).
It’s the best time of year! The first baby bison of spring was recently spotted at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. Calves are orange-red in color, earning them the nickname “red dogs.” They can walk within 3 hours of birth, and before long, nursery groups of calves will romp around together, never far from their mothers’ watchful eyes. Check out more bison facts: http://on.doi.gov/1Oc7VXg Photo by National Park Service.
Sunlight streaming through leaves, the chirps and squeaks of birds and animals in the trees, and the rich scents of the outdoors make the forest a happy place for many people. Today on International Day of Forests, we recognize these special places and their importance to wildlife and recreation. Photo of the Sol Duc rainforest at Olympic National Park in Washington by Adam Jewell (www.sharetheexperience.org).
It’s International Mountain Day! Not only are mountains majestic, they’re also critical to the water cycle, food production and tourism. Denali, America’s tallest mountain, is often shrouded in clouds, but on clear days at Denali National Park & Preserve in Alaska, you can see why its name means “The High One.” Photo by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
Winters can be harsh, though starkly beautiful at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Temperatures can be well below 0 degrees F by November, and on the winter solstice, Denali receives less than 5 hours of true daylight. Those who venture to the park in winter will find plenty to do – from skiing and winter biking to mushing and snowmobiling. Photo by Katie Thoresen, National Park Service.
There’s nothing like waking up at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Pull back the tent flap and walk into a bright world of vivid color and crisp mountain air. The sounds of the water lapping at the shore of a lake surrounded by tall trees and towering peaks revives the sense and refreshes the soul. Photo by Tim Wood (www.sharetheexperience.org).
City of Rocks National Reserve is an extraordinary encirclement of granite rising out of the gently rolling sagebrush country in south-central Idaho. This backcountry byway attracts rock climbers, campers, hikers, hunters and those with the spirit of adventure. There’s inspirational scenery, exceptional opportunities for geologic study and remnants of the Old West awaiting your discovery. Photo by National Park Service.