The sun sinks behind the horizon, coloring the sky a bright orange before night falls in South Florida. Big Cypress National Preserve protects 729,000 acres of unique freshwater swamp, offering refuge to a wide variety of plants and animals. From hardwood hammocks hiding rare Florida panthers to tidal estuaries teeming with birds and fish, there is so much to see in this wonderful place. Photo by National Park Service.
A maze of meandering bayous and rippling marshes, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana occupies over 125,000 acres of waters and wetlands. Providing habitat for an impressive variety of birds, the refuge is also a vibrant nursery to shrimp, blue crab and numerous fish species. Boardwalks and hiking paths allow visitors to explore the area. On sunny days, it’s common to see alligators resting by the water. Photo by Colleen Stringer (www.sharetheexperience.org).
On foggy mornings, an eerie calm falls over Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi. The water is still and the air is thick. With 48,000 acres of forests, fields and waters, the refuge is excellent habitat for eagles, alligators and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Visitors enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking, and wildlife photography and observation. The refuge also serves as an outdoor classroom for Mississippi State University and other local educational institutions. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Golden sunrise light streams through the pinelands at Everglades National Park in Florida. Across the park’s 1.5 million acres, thick forests transition to wide wetlands and coastal lowlands; each distinct ecosystem dependent on water conditions and a few inches of elevation. On your next adventure, explore these different lands and waters in search of your perfect Everglades moment. Photo courtesy of Andrew R. Slaton.
Want to escape the winter cold? South Florida offers some amazing public lands getaways. Don’t miss sunrise at Big Cypress National Preserve. The orange light shimmers on the wetlands as a terrific variety of wildlife greets the morning. You’ll forget all about the snow at home. Photo by National Park Service.
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).
Covering over 400,000 acres in southeast Georgia, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest intact freshwater ecosystems in the world. The swamp is home to over 600 plant species and provides habitat for an amazing variety of amphibians and birds. You can also see black bears and of course, American alligators. Here’s one swimming towards a rainbow. Photo by Sarah Wyatt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
After significant damage caused by Hurricane Irma, staff and volunteers have been hard at work on clean-up and repairs at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida to get the preserve ready for the busy winter season. Facilities are beginning to reopen and soon visitors can enjoy paddling, hiking, hunting, fishing, biking and birdwatching in this amazing wetland. Photo by National Park Service.
Surrounded by farmland and development, Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana is critical habitat for the diverse wildlife that call the area home. The grasslands, forests and wetlands of the refuge support animals from otters and deer to a wide variety of birds. Fall is a great time to see waterfowl or catch a sunrise over one of the refuge’s lakes. Photo by D. Stanley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
There’s a lot to do at Congaree National Park in South Carolina. Whether you prefer paddling Cedar Creek, roughing it on a backcountry camping trip, fishing in oxbow lake, having a picnic, joining a ranger-led “Owl Prowl” or just taking a short stroll on the boardwalk, the park is ready to welcome you. Photo by National Park Service.