Towering rock formations, majestic bison and tens of millions of years of natural history await you at Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Don’t let the name fool you – you’re sure to have a good time here. First protected as a national monument in 1929, Badlands was established as a national park on this day in 1978. Learn more about the rugged beauty of this park and all it has to offer: www.doi.gov/blog/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-badlands-national-park Photo by Donna Schneider (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Rays of sunlight create a mesmerizing glow that illuminates Yosemite National Park in California. Spectacular autumn colors decorate the trees, enhanced by the morning’s soft light. As we shift from busier seasons into quieter ones for most of the national parks, take a minute to reflect. Winter is coming, and it’s sure to be its very own incredible adventure. Seasons may shift, but the resonating beauty offered at Yosemite continues to ignite the imagination and hearts of many. Photo by Menchor Cuizon (www.sharetheexperience.org).
When you and your friend know you have sweet dance moves…
Just look at these gorgeous manatees! Each November marks Manatee Awareness Month, a reason to celebrate these gentle giants, lovingly called sea cows. The average manatee is about 10ft long and weighs 800 -1,200lbs, eating approximately 1/10th of their body weight every day. From November to March, about 600 can be seen vegging and eating vegetation in the warm waters of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.
Photo by Michel Gilbert, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Munch on these facts, manatee-style: www.doi.gov/blog/6-facts-about-manatees
Resembling the work of an artist, sunsets like this one in Utah from Plateau Viewpoint in Labyrinth Rims/Gemini Bridges Special Management Recreation Area can feel almost unreal. Pink hues of the day’s last light grace the sandstone domes of the Sand Flats Recreation Area and the forested slopes of the Manti-La Sal National Forest. Bureau of Land Management manages this area, offering incredible opportunities for world-class recreation, like mountain biking, camping and river-rafting– or —gawking at sunsets. Photo by Stephen Smith (www.sharetheexperience.org).
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.
Meep meep! Just like in the cartoons, roadrunners love to run and can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. They can fly for short distances but prefer to remain on the ground where they hunt for prey. Cute in a goofy kind of way, roadrunners are very fierce predators. They will eat pretty much anything they can catch, including mice, lizards, scorpions, rattlesnakes and other birds. This one at Big Bend National Park in Texas grabbed this snake snack to present to a potential mate. How romantic! Photo by Lee Jaszlics (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Made up of flourishing forests and thriving wetlands, Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge is a dazzling sanctuary found in both New Hampshire and Maine. Because the majority of the refuge includes lands surrounding Lake Umbagog and the Magalloway River, the best access to the refuge is by boat or kayak. Boating or paddling will allow you to explore or paddle through the marshes and waterways. Enjoy great fishing and beauty with the opportunity to see bear, moose, deer, eagles, loons and so much more. Photo by Ian Shive, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The American bison is our national mammal and a symbol of the Department of the Interior. Rugged and resilient, bison are surprisingly agile, able to jump fences and run up to 35 miles an hour. Recovering from near extinction, 17 bison herds can be found on public lands across the West. They are a wonder to see in the wild and we’re proud to feature them on National Bison Day. Photo of bison at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming courtesy of Travis O’Brien.
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.
Whoo whoo’s ready for Halloween? As the sun sets and costumed candy hunters emerge, so will owls like this great horned owl @mypubliclands Marion Creek Campground in Alaska. Great horned owls are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Their excellent night vision, acute hearing and silent flight makes them practically magical. Their eyes don’t move in their sockets, but they can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees to look in any direction, making them nature’s perfect, lovable creeper. Just remember: even when you’re not watching wildlife on public lands – they’re watching you. Muhaha! Happy Owloween! Photo by Kerry Howard (www.sharetheexperience.org).