On this day in 1865, Gifford Pinchot – the “Father of American Forestry” – was born. As the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Pinchot was instrumental in establishing the American conservation ethic over a century ago. Pinchot’s believed in managing our land according to the best science, best practices, greatest good, longest term. Today, Pinchot’s philosophy of multiple use continues to influence the mission of federal agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. Learn more about the life and legacy of Gifford Pinchot: https://on.doi.gov/Pinchot
It’s National Lighthouse Day! Few images are as evocative as a lighthouse standing sentry on a rocky shore, the guardian of mariners and passengers as they navigate the formidable currents, fierce storms and shifting shoals of America’s coastal and inland waterways. Although their form and appearance vary according to region or the body of water they guard, the lighthouse remains one of the most recognizable images of the maritime world. You can find many of these historic and majestic buildings on public lands across the country. Just follow the light.
On this date in 1993, Congress established Idaho’s Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area – home to the greatest concentration of nesting birds of prey in North America, and perhaps, the world. In 2009, it was renamed to honor a long-time advocate for birds of prey and a man who dedicated his life to protecting the area: Morley Nelson. In the 1940s Nelson began to document birds of prey along the Snake River canyon on film, influencing public opinion about the majesty and importance of these species. Nelson was also instrumental in convincing Secretary of the Interior Rogers Morton to give the area special protection in 1971. Here cliffs towering up to 700 feet above the Snake River provide countless ledges, cracks and crevices for nesting raptors. These magnificent birds launch from their cliffside aeries to soar and hunt on warm air currents rising from the canyon floor. Today, as we celebrate 25 years of protecting Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, we also honor the man who was critical to ensuring future generations can hear the call of raptors as they swoop for their prey. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Some of the first park rangers in America, weren’t rangers at all. They were Buffalo Soldiers – African Americans who served in the U.S. Army after the Civil War. They got their famous nickname from Cheyenne warriors, who likened their dark curly hair to that of buffalo hides. From 1899 to 1904, they were among the first people to work in Yosemite, Yellowstone and Sequoia national parks – more than 10 years before the creation of the National Park Service. These dedicated men protected wildlife from poaching, put out wildfires, built trails, roads, buildings and other infrastructure, and forged a proud legacy in our nation’s history. Photo of Sequoia National Park by Nathan Close (www.sharetheexperience.org).
On this day in 1861, the first major battle of the Civil War – the First Battle of Manassas – was fought on several hills not far from a critical railroad junction in Virginia. Over 60,000 soldiers got their first experience of combat, “Stonewall” Jackson earned his nickname and almost 900 dead men foreshadowed the carnage to come. Walking the fields at Manassas National Battlefield Park helps us better understand that hot, bloody day and the conflict that tore America apart. Photo courtesy of Buddy Secor.
On this day in 1864, President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant, protecting the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley – an area that would later become Yosemite National Park. It was the first time the government protected land because of its natural beauty so that people could enjoy it. Thanks to John Muir’s passionate writing to further protect the delicate ecosystem of the High Sierra, Yosemite National Park became our nation’s 3rd national park 26 years later. Learn more: https://on.doi.gov/2xPYUz3. Photo courtesy of Menx Cuizon.
Today we’re celebrating our national bird, the bald eagle, for American Eagle Day. On June 20, 1782, the bald eagle was placed at the center of the Great Seal of the United States and remains an inspiring symbol of our country. After a dramatic recovery, bald eagles are found in every state but Hawaii, soaring high and inspiring the nation. Photo from the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River in Alaska by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management – Alaska (@mypubliclands).
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. George Washington is often called the “Father of our Country” and his legacy is felt and remembered at public lands across the nation. From bridges, towns, memorials and everything up to the nation’s capital and an entire state named after him, Washington – like all good fathers – gave our country an important start and an inspiring example. Photo of the sculpture of George Washington at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota by Susan Almanza (www.sharetheexperience.org).
One of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous buildings, Fallingwater has been called “the best all-time work of American architecture.” Harmonizing with the surrounding forest, rock and water, this famous home rises over a stream known as Bear Run near Mill Run, Pennsylvania. Numerous buildings designed by Wright are designated as National Historic Landmarks, joining over 2,500 exceptional places that help tell the story of art and history in America. Photo by National Park Service.
Today marks the 74th anniversary of D-Day. A major turning point in World War II, the Allied landings at Normandy established a foothold in France and helped bring an end to the war the following year. Encountering fierce resistance, American courage won the day at Utah and Omaha beaches and at airborne assault points inland. On June 6 alone, 6,603 Americans were killed. Photo of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall & Memorial Parks by National Park Service.