Let’s keep the fun of National Wildlife Refuge Week going with this awesome elk at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. During the fall rut, bull elk bellow out a series of grunts and whistles called a bugle. It’s a call to combat. In the mating season, challengers bugle to dominant elks, announcing a duel for the right to mate. This is just one of the many terrific sight and sounds you’ll find when you explore the outdoors. Photo by Somesh Nagthan (www.sharetheexperience.org).
It’s National Wildlife Refuge Week! From Patuxent Research Refuge on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. to Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge (seen here) on an Alaska island, refuges are the perfect places for people to connect to the outdoors and appreciate wildlife. Clever and cute, these foxes are just an example of some of the amazing things you might see when you visit a refuge. See more: https://on.doi.gov/2P6CcZw Photo by Josh Blouin (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The first national recreation area in the United States, Lake Mead stretches across 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys and brilliant blue waters in Arizona and Nevada. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a year-round playground for millions of Americans who come to boat, hike, cycle, camp, fish or enjoy a moment in the park’s nine wilderness areas. In addition to being a place for recreation, it’s also a home of plants and animals, and is a critical water source for many in the Southwest. Photos by National Park Service.
In the mid-1800s, artists and painters of the Hudson River School flocked to Mount Desert Island in Maine to capture its natural beauty with their brushstrokes – inspiring patrons and friends to explore the area. As more people came to savor the fresh salt air, beautiful scenery and relaxed pace, the fame and popularity of this gorgeous coastline grew. After years of preservation efforts, this lovely landscape became Acadia National Park in 1929. Photo by Ritesh Tandon (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Explore a rugged, isolated island, far from the sights and sounds of civilization. Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park in Michigan offers unparalleled solitude and adventures for backpackers, hikers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers. The autumn colors are pretty amazing there right now, but you only have a couple more weeks to see them. The park closes every year from November 1-April 15 because of extreme weather conditions and for visitor safety. Photo by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
While not as famous as its fellow Utah parks, Capitol Reef National Park delivers the dramatic cliffs, canyons, domes and natural bridges you’ve come to expect from the heart of red rock country. Perfect for day hikes or week-long backcountry adventures, visitors can discover 200 million years of geologic history and pick fresh fruit and nuts from the 3,000-tree historic orchard. It’s a really sweet experience, but please remember to follow the posted rules and drop your money in the self-pay station. Photo by Douglas Croft (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Bandelier National Monument’s human history extends back for over 10,000 years when nomadic hunter-gatherers followed migrating wildlife across the mesas and canyons of New Mexico. Between 1150 and 1550 CE, Ancestral Pueblo erected permanent settlements whose remains give us clues about their lives and culture. Built along the base of a cliff, the homes at Long House stood three to four stories high. The cliff face and remaining structures are decorated with hundreds of petroglyphs showing a variety of subjects. A visit here is like traveling back in time. Photo by Sally King, National Park Service.
Dinosaur National Monument offers a lifetime of places to explore. Depending on your interest and time, you can discover dinosaur fossils, Native American rock art, homesteader cabins, early 20th century ranches, remote canyons, dramatic vistas, peaceful rivers or windswept peaks. Some places are easily accessible from the monument’s roads, while others may require extended hikes or river trips. Looking down hundreds of feet to the Green River as it curls past narrow canyon walls, you’ll know it was worth the exercise. Photo by National Park Service.
The imposing rock formation of Scotts Bluff National Monument in Nebraska rises 800 feet above the North Platte River and the surrounding prairie. For pioneers and travellers, it was visible for several days before they actually reached it and meant the end of the Great Plains and the beginning of the Rocky Mountains. Visitors today can get a sense of frontier time as they look out over some of the the best preserved prairie in the country – gorgeous grasslands relatively untouched by human disturbance. Photo by B. Wagner, National Park Service.
#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