Mount Rushmore National Memorial under construction.
The workers had to endure conditions that varied from blazing hot to bitterly cold and windy. Each day they climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to punch-in on the time clock. Then 3/8 inch thick steel cables lowered them over the front of the 500-foot face of the mountain in a "bosun chair." Despite the dangers, no one was killed during the project.
Otters in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The sea otter population of Glacier Bay has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. Ecologists consider sea otters a keystone species here. Otters consume vast quantities of clams, urchins, crabs, and other invertebrates and their presence creates ripples through the ecosystem. NPS photo.
Every day someone like you becomes a wildland wildfire fighter, a teacher, a trail-builder, a museum curator, or a park ranger. Discover your opportunities in national parks. Come to play. Come to learn. Come to serve. Develop your environmental leadership skills. Find a job. Be the next generation to preserve and protect these great places.
With more than 80% of Americans living in urban areas, urban parks are more important than ever. The father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, said of urban parks:
It is one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God's handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances.
Secretary Salazar Joins President Obama in Commemorating 45th Anniversary of Wilderness Act
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined President Obama in commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the creation of the National Wilderness Preservation System by President Lyndon Johnson on Sept. 3, 1964.
“The creation of the National Wilderness Preservation System is one of the greatest events in the history of American conservation,” said Salazar, who oversees 73 million of the 109 million acres of designated wilderness in the United States. “These pristine places that are set aside to be forever wild and untouched inspire us and remind us of the bounty with which our nation is blessed in the beauty and richness of our land.”
Wilderness areas are areas of undeveloped federal land that retain their primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which are protected and managed to preserve their natural conditions. Uses of these lands are generally restricted to non-motorized activities such as hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and other non-invasive activities.
In March, President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 into law. This law designates 52 new wilderness areas and adds acreage to 26 existing areas, a total addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System of more than 2 million acres.
In an official proclamation issued today, the President declared: “The Wilderness Act is widely recognized as one of this nation's most important conservation laws. This law and the National Wilderness Preservation System it established have served as a model for similar wilderness protection laws in a number of our States and in nations around the globe.”
The 762 wilderness areas in the United States range in size from the 5-acre Rocks and Islands Wilderness in California to Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness in Alaska, which is more than 9 million acres.
Within the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service manages 43.9 million acres, the Fish and Wildlife Service manages 20.7 million acres, and the Bureau of Land Management oversees 8.7 million acres. The Department of Agriculture's National Forest Service manages 36.2 million acres of wilderness.
All but six states have designated wilderness areas. Alaska has the most wilderness acres -- 57.5 million – followed by California with 14.9 million.