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National Take A Hike Day — November 17th

Take A Hike Day

National Take a Hike Day is observed each year on November 17. With over 60,000 miles of trails in the National Trail System across the 50 states, there are plenty of opportunities for you to take a hike.

Events are scheduled on National Take A Hike Day around the country to celebrate! But you can just spend the day exploring hiking trails in and around your town. Make sure you carry enough food and water with you and tell your family and friends where you are going. Research has shown that hiking can have many health and social benefits. Considered to be a good way to exercise, hiking can have all the benefits associated with walking in nature – it can reduce stress, increase heart activity and reduce blood pressure.

Be sure to wear good shoes, take a snack and bring a buddy! Get out there and enjoy the fresh air, scenery can get a little exercise too!

Click here to learn more about some of the most amazing places to take a hike — our National Parks!

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Celebrate Arches National Park’s Anniversary, November 12th

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park

A Red Rock Wonderland

Visit Arches National Park and discover an amazing landscape of landforms, textures and contrasting colors unlike any other place in the world. The park features more than 2,000 natural stone arches, hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. Discover this red rock wonderland and be amazed by its natural formations, beautiful colors and inspiring sunsets.

Arches National Park lies north of Moab in Utah. Bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast, it’s known as the site of more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, such as the massive, red-hued Delicate Arch in the east. Long, thin Landscape Arch stands in Devils Garden to the north. Other geological formations include Balanced Rock, towering over the desert landscape in the middle of the park.

The park lies above an underground evaporite layer or salt bed, which is the main cause of the formation of the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths. Over millions of years, the salt bed was covered with debris eroded from the Uncompahgre Uplift to the northeast.

Except for isolated remnants, the major formations visible in the park today are the salmon-colored Entrada Sandstone, in which most of the arches form, and the buff-colored Navajo Sandstone. These are visible in layer cake fashion throughout most of the park. Over time, water seeped into the surface cracks, joints, and folds of these layers. Ice formed in the fissures, expanding and putting pressure on surrounding rock, breaking off bits and pieces. Winds later cleaned out the loose particles. A series of free-standing fins remained. Wind and water attacked these fins until, in some, the cementing material gave way and chunks of rock tumbled out. Many damaged fins collapsed. Others, with the right degree of hardness and balance, survived despite their missing sections. These became the famous arches.

Although the park’s terrain may appear rugged and durable, it is extremely fragile. More than 1 million visitors each year threaten the fragile high desert ecosystem. The problem lies within the soil’s crust which is composed of cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, and lichens that grow in the dusty parts of the park.

Arches National Park

Click here to see the Arches National Park poster.

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Celebrating Badlands National Park’s Anniversary

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is located in southwestern South Dakota and protects 242,756 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here. The park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where, bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets (the most endangered land mammal in North America) live today. The South Unit, or Stronghold Unit, is co-managed with the Oglala Lakota tribe and includes sites of 1890s Ghost Dances, a former United States Air Force bomb and gunnery range, and Red Shirt Table, the park’s highest point at 3,340 feet.

This land has been so ruthlessly ravaged by wind and water that it has become picturesque. Badlands National Park is a wonderland of bizarre, colorful spires and pinnacles, massive buttes and deep gorges. Erosion of the Badlands reveals sedimentary layers of different colors: purple and yellow (shale), tan and gray (sand and gravel), red and orange (iron oxides) and white (volcanic ash).

Authorized as Badlands National Monument on March 4, 1929, President Franklin Roosevelt issued a proclamation on January 25, 1939 that established Badlands National Monument. In the late 60’s, Congress passed legislation adding more than 130,000 acres of Oglala Sioux tribal land, used since World War II as a U.S. Air Force bombing and gunnery range, to the Badlands to be managed by the National Park Service. An agreement between the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the National Park Service governing the management of these lands was signed in 1976. The new Stronghold and Palmer Creek units added lands having significant scenic, scientific and cultural resources. Congress again focused it’s attention on the Badlands in 1978 on 10 November, it was re-designated as Badlands National Park.

> Click here to see the Badlands National Park poster!

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