Happy 40th birthday, Badlands National Park! This South Dakota park was established on this day in 1978, and it’s anything but bad. Long before it was a park, the Badlands’ rugged beauty has drawn visitors from around the world. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Today, the park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets live. Photo by William Green (www.sharetheexperience.org).
On this day in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was officially dedicated. A universal symbol of freedom and democracy, the statue was designated as a national monument in 1924, and the National Park Service has been caring for the colossal statue since 1933. Photos by National Park Service.
On this day in 1867, the Territory of Alaska was formally transferred from Russia to the United States, and in 1917, Alaska Day was created to celebrate this historic moment. From stunning mountains to winding rivers that snake through valleys, there are over 222 million acres of public lands in Alaska and much of it’s managed by the Interior Department. This beauty scene is Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River. The river flows west past the jagged limestone ridges of the White Mountains and is a popular spot for river adventurers. It’s great for a float trip, wildlife viewing and fishing. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
#FindYourWay to deep canyons and truly wild streams along the Little Jacks Creek Wild and Scenic River in Idaho. Protected in 2009 and surrounded by wilderness in Southern Idaho’s Owyhee Canyonlands, the multi-tiered cliffs and steep grassy slopes of Little Jacks Creek plunge almost 1,000 feet to the streambed, which provides habitat for Redband trout. The Little Jacks Creek canyon is a prime example of high desert fluvial geology; vertical and angular rock lines create a mosaic amid coarse-textured, red, brown, or blackish eroded basalt cliffs, often glazed with yellow to light green micro-flora. Bighorn sheep are a main attraction for visiting hikers, so be sure to keep your eyes open! Little Jacks Creek is one of 209 river segments in 40 states that are part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, which has protected 12,754 miles of free-flowing rivers over the last 50 years! Photo by Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Today is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in American history – the Battle of Antietam. More than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederacy’s first major invasion of the North and gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s hard to imagine the horror that ravaged this Maryland community when you walk the now peaceful fields of Antietam National Battlefield. Photo by National Park Service.
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, four commercial airliners were hijacked and used to attack the U.S. – two planes were flown into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City and a third into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard the fourth plane, Flight 93, the U.S. Capitol was saved. The four aircraft strikes killed nearly 3,000 people, the deadliest attack on American soil by a foreign entity.
Today the National Park Service, its volunteers, and its partners work to honor their sacrifice and to try to understand more fully the legacy of Flight 93 and the other events of 9/11. We will #NeverForget.
Photo from the Flight 93 National Memorial by Tami A. Heilemann, Interior Department.
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
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
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.
On May 27, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opened to the public. Over 80 years later, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous and beautiful bridges in the world because of its spectacular location, graceful lines, Art Deco detailing and emblematic color. With towers extending 746 feet into the sky and over 100 feet beneath the bay, the bridge is also an engineering marvel. Visitors can walk or bike the entire length of the 1.7 mile-long bridge, but dress warmly and don’t forget to check out nearby Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Photo by Dave Gordon (www.sharetheexperience.org).