Taking its name from one of the longest living trees in the Arizona desert, the 129,000-acre Ironwood Forest National Monument is a true Sonoran Desert showcase. 🌵 Keeping company with the ironwood trees are mesquite, palo verde, creosote, and saguaro – blanketing the monument floor beneath rugged mountain ranges named Silver Bell, Waterman and Sawtooth. In between, desert valleys lay quietly to complete the setting. The national monument also contains habitat for the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl and desert bighorn sheep dwelling, which makes hiking, wildlife watching and photography favorite activities in this desert jewel. Photo by Bob Wick, @mypubliclands.
Happy National Puppy Day! Did you know that dogs aren’t the only animals with pups? Other species, like the fox, have young that are also called pups. In the spring, a mother fox gives birth to a litter of 2-12 pups (also called kits). When the pups are about seven months old, they’re ready to strike out on their own. By winter the pup will find a mate and will stay with that mate for the rest of their life. Check out more photos of different pup species: https://on.doi.gov/puppies.
Photo of a red fox at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey by Ashleigh Scully via U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
If you think the colorful landscape of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon is interesting, just wait until you see what’s hidden among the unique rock formations. The erosion that created the painted hills and deep ravines also revealed one of the longest records of evolutionary change on the continent. On the park’s 14,000 acres, scientists have uncovered fossils of plants and animals dating back from 5 million to 44 million years old. If each time period recorded here is a page in a book, John Day Fossil Beds holds an entire chapter of Earth’s history. Photo by Lucie Jiraskova (http://ift.tt/18oFfjl).
Check out this peaceful scene at Table Rock Wilderness in Oregon for International Day of Forests. See old growth Douglas fir and western hemlock along four terrific trails as you hike up to the “fortress” of Table Rock. Breathe in the rich, forest air and remember the poem by Robert Frost, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.” Photo by Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands.
Happy first day of Spring! Let’s welcome the season with a blanket of wildflowers at Carrizo Plain National Monument in California. Only a few hours from Los Angeles, Carrizo Plain offers visitors a chance to be alone with nature. Prominent features of the monument include the white alkali flats of Soda Lake, vast open grasslands and a broad plain rimmed by mountains. When conditions are right, numerous wildflowers can carpet the valley floor, creating a beautiful, but temporary landscape of color. Photo by Curtis Kautzer (http://ift.tt/18oFfjl).
Death Valley National Park is famous for its spectacular spring wildflower displays. While the intensity of the bloom varies greatly from year to year, flowers are never totally absent. This year, wildflowers are generally sparse along popular scenic routes, but intrepid photographers like Michael Hardridge are finding desert sand verbena blooming at Ibex Dunes, a remote area that requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle and good route finding skills. For exceptional wildflowers this year, head to other southern California parks like Joshua Tree and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Sunset photo taken on March 4 courtesy of Michael Hardridge.
A lavender sunrise reveals the marbled and cracked surface of Dream Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. If not for the chill, this would be the most beautiful floor in the world. Photo courtesy of Eric Schuette.
Is everyone wearing green today? Nature’s light show displays a fantastic emerald ripple above Denali National Park in Alaska, a great place to see the Northern Lights. Says photographer Carl Johnson, “Having great aurora borealis images to show for a night out in the cold cannot truly capture the thrill of just being out there and witnessing this amazing phenomenon.” Photo courtesy of Carl Johnson. #StPatricksDay
The vast, wild landscape of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area offers visitors unparalleled opportunities to immerse themselves in the natural world, and experience the wonders of this extraordinary place. With over 120,000 acres in Montana and Wyoming, one can find an astounding diversity in ecosystems, animals and more. It’s also an amazing place to greet the new day. Photo courtesy of Aaron Selig.
Highly intelligent and resourceful, raccoons are one of the most widespread mammals in North America. They have adapted to live in forests, mountain areas, coastal marshes and even urban centers. In Native American legends, they are known as tricksters and mischief-makers. Their characteristic masks and dexterous paws make them seem cute and approachable, but never forget that they are wild animals. Photo by Gary Miller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.