Twenty miles outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and not far from the historic battlefields of Lexington and Concord, Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge features 3,800 acres of wetlands and forests – perfect habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Over 200 species of birds have been sighted here, and white-tailed deer, beaver, fisher, otter, muskrats, red fox, weasels and various small mammals all find a home in the refuge. Photo by Deb Della Piana (www.sharetheexperience.org).
On this day in 1781, British forces under General Charles Lord Cornwallis marched across the Yorktown Battlefield in Virginia to surrender to General George Washington, effectively ending the Revolutionary War. More than five years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, Washington’s army finally achieved the decisive victory that would guarantee our nation’s future. Visit the now peaceful battlefield to learn more about this dramatic moment in our history. Photo at Colonial National Historical Park - Yorktown Battlefield by James Gramm (www.sharetheexperience.org).
October’s falling temperatures trigger the annual migration of millions of monarch butterflies across the continent. Every fall, these lovely butterflies fly thousands of miles from as far north as Canada to overwinter in California and Mexico. When swarms of monarchs pause en route to rest and feed on nectar-bearing plants, admirers will see them blanket trees and shrubs in orange and black. Photo of a monarch butterfly chandelier in California by Joanna Gilkeson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Fall colors are popping up at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. This eastern Maine wildlife refuge is the perfect place to take in autumn’s bright reds, oranges and yellows. Where is your favorite place for fall colors? Photos by Keith Ramos, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The John Day Wild and Scenic River is the longest undammed river in Oregon. Located in the eastern part of the state, the section from Service Creek to Tumwater Falls flows through a number of colorful canyons broad valleys and breathtaking terrain. It offers year-round recreation opportunities – from whitewater boating and camping to fishing and hunting, camping with snowmobiling and skiing in the winter. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
From its rocky coastline to the top of Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park in Maine will take your breath away. Day or night, the sights and sounds of the park give visitors memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime. Famous for sunrise, the park is also a terrific place to enjoy the night sky. Photo of the Milky Way from Little Hunters Beach by Joshua Snow (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Located just northeast of Denver, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is a 15,000-acre expanse of prairie, wetland and woodland habitat. The land has a unique story – it has survived the test of time and transitioned from farmland to war-time manufacturing site to wildlife sanctuary today. It may be one of the finest conservation success stories in history and a place where wildlife thrives. Photo by Jennifer Howell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Waterfall-draped mountains encircle Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. The winding Hanalei River feeds wetlands that are home to five endangered water birds: the koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck), the ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), the ‘alae‘ula (Hawaiian moorhen), the ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt), and the nēnē (Hawaiian goose). Photo by J. Waipa, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
There’s no denying the unique attraction of Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Also known as “Bear Lodge” or “Bear’s Tipi,” the dramatic monolith is a sacred site to several Native American Tribes. Familiar to many in movies like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” it’s recognizable to people around the world. But according to photographer Lori Eckhart, “There’s nothing like standing there in front of it. Its size, and the way it stands out and alone from anything else, just demands respect and fills you with awe.” Photo courtesy of Lori Eckhart.
Clouds cover last week’s full moon, creating a spooky-looking pic of the area near Bodie Hills, California. Called the Harvest Moon, the first full moon after the fall equinox baths the sky in bright moonlight in early evening, aiding farmers in harvesting their crops. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve in Alaska erupts with color during the short fall season. You can find more than gorgeous views and amazing wildlife here, though. Field research continues to uncover evidence of prehistoric animals and the first people to settle the continent. Photo by Katie Cullen, National Park Service.
It’s National Wildlife Refuge Week! National wildlife refuges are America’s best-kept secret – offering unparalleled opportunities to experience the great outdoors and providing vital habitat for thousands of species of animals and plants, both abundant and rare. With at least one national wildlife refuge in every state and territory (plus an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas), there’s a wildlife refuge nearby waiting to be explored. Photo Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico by Robert Dunn.
Fall is a great time to visit Zion National Park in Utah. The crowds get smaller and the temperatures cool. Along the Virgin River, cottonwoods turn golden yellow and bigtooth maples add splashes of scarlet to the canyons and trails. These streaks of color enhance the already magnificent landscape. Photo by Robert Caton (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Last week, the Northern Lights were shining bright over Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska. On dark, clear nights, there’s nothing quite like watching the aurora borealis reflect off the mighty Yukon River. Photo by Jake Wiley, National Park Service.
Centennial Mountains Wilderness Study Area is some of southwest Montana’s wildest and most scenic country. The mountain range connects the Yellowstone Ecosystem with the northern Rockies, providing wildlife like moose, elk, deer, wolverines, badgers and black bears an intact migration corridor. The Continental Divide forms the southern boundary of the wilderness and the northern face of the range rises nearly 3,000 feet in less than a mile. The scenic mountains and contrasting colors of the valley provides outstanding opportunities for photography. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Within sight of New York City skyscrapers, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a great place for hiking, biking, boating and birding. With numerous islands, a labyrinth of waterways, meadowlands and two freshwater ponds, the wetlands provide a unique environment for both wildlife preservation and urban recreation. In every season, there’s beauty to be found. Fall photo by Micael Fano (www.sharetheexperience.org).
If you like taking the road less traveled, the Nabesna Road at Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve might be right for you. Along the way, you’ll find scenic vistas, hiking routes and wildlife viewing, but you won’t find many people. Photo from Dead Dog Hill by Bryan Petrtyl, National Park Service.
Happy birthday, Yosemite National Park! On October 1, 1890, Yosemite became a national park, and 127 years later, it’s still wowing visitors with its waterfalls, towering granite monoliths, deep valleys and ancient giant sequoias. What’s your memory about this legendary California landmark?
Learn more: https://on.doi.gov/yosemite
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Basiago.
It’s National Public Lands Day! Today is the perfect time to get out and explore parks, refuges and wilderness areas near you. There are also thousands of volunteer events across the country and fees are waived, so head outdoors and enjoy some active time in nature. Photo from Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Fall brings dramatic color to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. Dense colonies of aspens grow in moist soil, sharing a root system and changing their leaves in unison. Like a river of gold, these gorgeous trees fill Morris Gulch, high in the mountains above the sand dunes. Photo by Patrick Myers, National Park Service.