November is Manatee Awareness Month; but no matter what time of year it is, manatees deserve to be celebrated. These amazing creatures fulfill a unique niche by serving as indicator species for ecosystems across the United States. Because of their reliance on the health of their habitat, manatees often act as a signal of their environment’s well-being. NOAA photo by Michael Buchanan.
Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Salazar Cites Anacostia Riverwalk as High Priority Project to Promote Recreation, Conservation
Project Will Be Part of 50-State AGO Report
WASHINGTON — Just days before the release of a report outlining some of the country's most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the natural world, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today highlighted a project in Washington, D.C., that will be included in the final report — representing what elected officials and stakeholders believe is among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country.
The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is among the projects nationwide that will be highlighted in next week's report as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to establish a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda and reconnect Americans to the outdoors.
The report is a result of meetings with elected officials and stakeholders held by Salazar and other senior Interior officials to solicit ideas on how to best implement AGO. The Riverwalk was identified for its potential to conserve important lands and build recreation opportunities and economic growth for the surrounding communities as part of close engagement with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, as well as private landowners, local- and tribal-elected officials, community organizations and outdoor-recreation and conservation stakeholders. The full report will be released in the coming weeks.
“Under the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, we are listening to the people of Washington, D.C., and communities across America and working with them on locally-based projects that will conserve the beauty and health of our land and water and open up more opportunities for people to enjoy them,” Salazar said. “My staff and I have been asking top elected officials for the most promising projects to support, and we will do all we can to help move them forward.”
The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
The Anacostia Riverwalk is a planned multi-use trail along the east and west banks of the Anacostia River. The trail will provide a safe and convenient means for users to access the Anacostia Waterfront and enjoy Anacostia Park.
Once completed, the Riverwalk will consist of a 48-mile trail system, which will include 20 miles of trail along the Anacostia waterfront within the District of Columbia. The Riverwalk will connect 16 waterfront neighborhoods to the Anacostia Park and the Anacostia River.
Washington, D.C., residents and visitors will be able to walk and bike on the Riverwalk to several popular destinations, including the Fish Wharf, the new baseball stadium, Poplar Point, the Navy Yard, historic Anacostia, RFK stadium, Kingman Island, and the National Arboretum. At either end, the trail will connect to the National Mall at the Tidal Basin and to the Bladensburg Marina Park in Prince George's County, Md.. Access points are being linked to neighborhoods and points of interest along the length of the trail.
Regionally, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail will connect to the Fort Circle Trails, the Bladensburg Trail, the Mount Vernon Trail and C&O Trail. Nationally, the Riverwalk Trail will provide access to the East Coast Greenway, a network of bicycle trails linking Maine to Florida. The District of Columbia's Metrorail system will interface with the Riverwalk Trail to create a full range of transportation alternatives in the region.
Many sections of the Riverwalk are now complete. The District of Columbia has been working with the National Park Service to complete sections located on National Park Service-managed lands.
Currently the National Park Service is working closely with the D.C. Department of Transportation to complete a missing section of the Riverwalk, which would connect the District of Columbia portion of the Riverwalk to the Maryland portion.
The Department of the Interior will work with each of its key bureaus — including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — to direct available resources and personnel to make these projects a reality.
“The America's Great Outdoors Initiative turns the conventional wisdom about the federal government's role in conservation on its head,” Salazar said. “Rather than dictate policies or conservation strategies from Washington, it supports grassroots, locally driven initiatives.”
For more information on the President's America's Great Outdoors initiative, click here.
To view a map of the projects already announced, click here.