Here’s a feast for the eyes: An underwater view of National Park of American Samoa. Located some 2,600 miles southwest of Hawai’i, this is one of the most remote national parks in the United States. It includes sections of three islands – Tutuila, Ta’ū, and Ofu – and about 4,000 acres is underwater, offshore from all three islands. This photo was taken at the Ofu unit, which has a shallow protected reef with a great diversity of coral cover fish. Photo by National Park Service.
Happy 80th birthday to the Golden Gate Bridge. On this day in 1973, this iconic bridge first opened. With towers extending 700 feet into the sky and over 100 feet beneath the San Francisco Bay, the bridge is an engineering marvel. In addition to driving, you can walk or bike the entire length of its 1.2-mile expanse, bounded on either side by spectacular scenery. Photo from Golden Gate National Recreation Area courtesy of Bruce Getty.
Take the road less traveled to Capitol Reef National Park. For Michelle Olmstead, Capitol Reef is her favorite Utah national park because it’s possible to solitude that can sometimes be lacking in other parks. “After hiking all day we were rewarded with this beautiful golden-hour light hitting the red rock as we were leaving. I feel very grateful to be able to experience these beautiful public lands with the ones I love.“ Photo courtesy of Michelle Olmstead.
Lassen Volcanic National Park in California is home to steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while roaring steam, thumping mud pots and boiling pools continue to shape the land. Photo of a starry night over Lake Manzanita by Kedar Datta (http://ift.tt/18oFfjl).
The natural beauty of Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona is undeniable.The colorful landscape, open skies and unique formations make for excellent hiking and photography. But that beauty is all a bonus on top of the important scientific mission of the park. The fossil record at the Petrified Forest preserves everything from fossil pollen to some of the earliest dinosaurs, and allows for the reconstruction of several ancient environments through time. Photo by Hallie Larsen, National Park Service.
Are you excited for World Turtle Day? From tiny, cute baby turtles to massive 1,500 pound leatherbacks, these fascinating animals can be found in almost every ecosystem around the world. Carrying their shells, they’re at home wherever they roam. Human intervention has threatened some turtle species, so please make sure you don’t disturb or distract them, especially nesting sea turtles. Photo of green sea turtles at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge by Daniel W. Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Running inland from protective fjords, Three Saints Bay in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska looks like a calm lake on a still day. The refuge is home to a spectacular variety of landscapes and wildlife. With mountains, rivers, tundra, forests, wetlands and coastline, it’s like seeing all of Alaska on a single island. Photo by Robin Corcoran, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Lake Clark National Park is a land of stunning beauty with steaming volcanoes, craggy mountains and foraging bears. Solitude is found around every bend in the river and shoulder of a mountain. Venture into the park to become part of this Alaska wilderness. Photo by Kara Lewandowski, National Park Service.
Exploring Mount Rainier National Park in Washington in the summer, famous naturalist John Muir called it “a garden filled knee-deep with fresh, lovely flowers of every hue, the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings.” Photo by Rip Rippey (http://ift.tt/18oFfjl).
Sunrise in the Appalachian Mountains can be an awe-inspiring sight. Sitting on an ancient rock and breathing in the cool mountain air, the beauty of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia unfolds before you as the first rays of sun sweep down into green valleys and misty hollows. No matter how many times you see it, it never gets old. Photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.