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).
Started in 2000, World Turtle Day aims to increase the public’s knowledge about turtles and tortoises. At home wherever they roam, turtles are some of the most diverse creatures – over 300 turtle species exist with 57 species in the U.S., and they’re found on every continent except Antarctica. And they play a vital role in the ecosystem, helping spread seeds on the land and supporting other marine life in the sea. On public lands across the country, we are working to protect turtle habitat and monitor turtle nests and hatchings.
Established in 1902, this stunning Oregon park is a true natural wonder, famous for its deep blue lake and endless recreational opportunities. Check out 12 things you might not know about Crater Lake: https://on.doi.gov/2rZxPW4
Happy birthday, Glacier National Park! On this day in 1910, President William Taft signed a bill into law establishing this Montana park – making it our nation’s 10th national park. 108 years later, Glacier remains the Crown of the Continent with glacier-carved peaks and valleys, pristine turquoise lakes and streams, and dense ancient forests for all to enjoy: https://on.doi.gov/glacier. What is your favorite memory at Glacier?
Photo of Wild Goose Island by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
Born April 21, 1838, John Muir has become America’s most famous naturalist and conservationist. He shared his love of the outdoors through writing and inspired people to protect our country’s wild places like Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Sequoia & Kings Canyon national parks – earning him the nickname the Father of the National Parks. His passion for these special places fueled the formation of the National Park Service in 1916 – two years after his death. Check out 10 Muir quotes that’ll inspire you to explore public lands: on.doi.gov/2p3hcX7