Established on June 28, 1980, Biscayne National Park is the largest marine park in the National Park System and protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Here too is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. Outdoor enthusiasts can boat, snorkel, camp, watch wildlife…or simply relax in a rocking chair gazing out over the bay. In the early 20th century the islands became secluded destinations for wealthy Miamians who built getaway homes and social clubs. Mark C. Honeywell’s guesthouse on Boca Chita Key was the area’s most elaborate private retreat, and featured a mock lighthouse.
If you are visiting for a day, you should sign up in advance for guided educational eco experiences with the Biscayne National Park Institute that can include sailing, snorkeling, paddling and exploring the islands. Programs range from a few hours to a full day, and highlight the park’s amazing wildlife, rich history, and awe-inspiring marine ecosystems. The true beauty of Biscayne National Park is that it offers a different experience for everyone. No matter what you’re interested in, you can learn more about the habitats and history of the park.
Established in 1944, Big Bend National Park is located in a remote part of Southern Texas and borders Mexico along 118 miles of the Rio Grande. It has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. It contains more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. The Rio Grande corridor is also a migration highway for many species passing through the desert. Elevation contrast create varied microclimates that further enhance the diversity of plant and animal life.
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Redwood National Park is known as the home of the tallest trees on Earth. Redwoods grow from the seeds the size of a tomato seed, yet can weigh 500 tons and stand taller than the Statue of Liberty. Its foot-thick bark makes the tree all but impervious to fire and insects.The parks also protect vast prairies, oak woodlands, wild riverways, and nearly 40 miles of rugged coastline. For thousands of years people have lived in this verdant landscape. Together, the National Park Service and California State Parks manage these lands for the inspiration, enjoyment, and education of all.
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Volcanoes are monuments to Earth’s origin, evidence that its primordial forces are still at work. During a volcanic eruption, we are reminded that our planet is an ever-changing environment whose basic processes are beyond human control. As much as we have altered the face of the Earth to suit our needs, we can only stand in awe before the power of an eruption.
Established in 1916, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is located in the U.S. state of Hawaii on the island of Hawaii. It encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world’s most massive shield volcano. The park provides scientists with insights into the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and ongoing studies into the processes of volcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna.
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Known as the Crown of the Continent, at Glacier National Park you can explore and experience pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, spectacular lakes, moraines and glaciers. With over 700 miles of trails, it is a hiker’s paradise for visitors seeking wilderness and solitude. Established in 1910, today you can relive the days of old through historic lodges, chalets, transportation, and stories of Native Americans.
Continue reading Celebrate Glacier National Park’s Anniversary — May 11th
Some 70 miles west of Key West Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, lies one of North America’s most inaccessible national parks. Renowned for pirate legends, shipwrecks, and sheer unspoiled beauty, Dry Tortugas National Park harbors unrivaled coral reefs and marine life, an annual birding spectacle, and majestic Fort Jefferson, the largest masonry stronghold in the Western Hemisphere.
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Actually, Hot Springs Reservation was initially created by an act of Congress on April 20, 1832 — even before the concept of a national park existed — and was the first time that a piece of land had been set aside by the federal government as an area for recreation. For centuries, the hot spring water was believed to possess medicinal properties — and the subject of legend among several Native American tribes. Following federal protection, the city developed into a successful spa town and has been home to Major League Baseball spring training, illegal gambling, speakeasies and gangsters such as Al Capone, horse racing at Oaklawn Park, the Army and Navy Hospital, and 42nd President Bill Clinton.
Continue reading Hot Springs National Park was established on this day in 1921.
Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems. Mount Rainier National Park is located in southeast Pierce County and northeast Lewis County in Washington state. It was established on March 2, 1899 as the fifth national park in the United States.
Continue reading Celebrate Mount Rainier’s Birthday, March 2nd
Yellowstone, the first National Park in the U.S. and widely held to be the first national park in the world, was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Straddling the borders of Montana and Wyoming, according the the act, Yellowstone was established “as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” and placed it “under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior.” Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918 from Fort Yellowstone at Mammoth Hot Springs.
Continue reading Yellowstone National Park turns 146 — March 1st!