Happy Presidents’ Day! Tall and dignified, the Washington Monument on the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C., honors our first president, George Washington. Presidents’ Day is still officially “Washington’s Birthday,” but commonly includes Abraham Lincoln’s February 12 birthday in the celebration. Photo by Michelle Holshue (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Channel Islands National Park in California encompasses five remarkable islands and the surrounding ocean, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth. Besides being an amazing outdoor classroom, it’s also a great place to watch the sunset. Photo by Angela Scolaro (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Along the lower reaches of the Columbia River in Washington, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge preserves unique habitat for wintering birds and other fascinating wildlife. Quiet and attentive visitors may be treated to the sight of a long tailed weasel running across a trail or a group of river otters playing in the water. Look out over distant fields and you might see a coyote hunting for rodents or a white tailed deer grazing watchfully. The refuge is a place where people can share a bond with nature, and each other, by passing on outdoor traditions to new generations. Sunset photo by Donna Torres (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The Niobrara Valley in Nebraska is home to Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge and 76 miles of the Niobrara National Scenic River. The valley boasts dramatic bluffs, gorgeous waterfalls, world-class fossil resources, rich forests, wide grasslands and incredible wildlife diversity. Over 350 bison live on the refuge, letting visitors enjoy iconic scenes like this sunset. Photo by Kristen Maxfield, National Park Service.
Tucson, Arizona, is home to the nation’s largest cacti. The universal symbol of the American west, these majestic plants are found only in a small portion of the United States and protected by Saguaro National Park. Here you have a chance to see these enormous cacti silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset. Photo by Debbie Angel (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The natural amphitheater of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah provides the perfect venue for enjoying fascinating landscapes and stunning skies. In winter, snow decorates the bright cliffs and hoodoos. Make sure to take a walk along the Rim Trail for all the best views. Photo by Jim Su (www.sharetheexperience.org).
You won’t see much snow at Merced National Wildlife Refuge in California, but you can see a whole lot of snow geese. The refuge’s wetlands attract large numbers of migratory birds throughout the winter. Living in large groups, they watch out for each other as they forage for stems, grains and berries. Sunset photo by Joanne Freemire (www.sharetheexperience.org).
With stellar views of sunrise, sunset and night sky, Acadia National Park in Maine is always welcoming. In the winter, visitors can ski, snowshoe, ride snowmobiles, camp, hike, ice fish and enjoy the park’s scenic views dressed in their snowy finery. Don’t forget to take a winter picture of sunset at Bass Harbor Head Light, an iconic Acadia experience. Photo by Kevin Davis (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The sky is ablaze with color during sunset at Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. This wildlife refuge rests among the prairie potholes of the Mission Valley to serve primarily as a refuge and breeding ground for native birds. Photo by Dave Fitzpatrick, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
On this day in 1947, Everglades National Park was established, protecting one of the largest wetlands in the world. Seventy years later, it remains an international treasure attracting visitors from all over who come to see the park’s mangroves, River of Grass, and unique array of plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of this south Florida park, test your knowledge with 10 interesting facts about the Everglades: https://on.doi.gov/2j0PyMd
Photo by James Pion (www.sharetheexperience.org).