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.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Salazar Designates National Water Trails in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today designated three National Water Trails in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri, committing to work with state and local partners to increase water-based outdoor recreation, encourage community stewardship, and promote tourism that fuels local economies.
“Restoring our nation's rivers and expanding outdoor recreational activities on them is one of the major goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative,” Salazar said. “Through a national network of National Water Trails, we are not only connecting people to the outdoors and supporting conservation efforts for our scenic rivers, but also supporting tourism and the recreation economy in nearby communities.”
The three new National Water Trails include:
The Alabama Scenic River Trail: The water trail begins at the point where the Coosa River enters Alabama just northeast of Cedar Bluff, and continues down the Coosa River to its confluence with the Tallapoosa near Wetumpka. From this conjunction, the trail follows the Alabama River to its junction with the Tombigbee/Warrior system just north of Mobile. It then proceeds through the Mobile River and the Tensaw-Mobile delta, along the Tensaw River and its tributaries to Mobile Bay. The trail, managed by the Alabama Scenic River Association, includes beautiful stretches of seven rivers, two creeks and one bay.
Okefenokee Wilderness Canoe Trail: This 120-mile water trail is located in Georgia near the towns of Folkston, Waycross, and Fargo. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the trail allows visitors to canoe past alligators, black bears, egrets, sandhill cranes, and many other species in the cypress swamps and open watery "prairies" of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
The Mississippi River Water Trail: Great River Water Trail: This 121-mile water trail begins in Saverton, Missouri at mile marker 301, and ends at St. Louis, Missouri Riverfront at mile marker 180. The water trail, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is lined with majestic bluffs, steeped in history, features abundant wildlife, and provides plenty of places to stop and relax whether it be a remote island or a river town.
On Saturday, Secretary Salazar was in Kansas with Governor Sam Brownback to designate the Kansas River Trail as a National Water Trail. The 173-mile trail follows the Kansas River, one of the longest prairie rivers in the world. It is managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.
Earlier this year, Salazar established the National Water Trails System as a class of national recreational trails under the National Trails System Act of 1968. The designation acknowledges not only the recreation values of the trails but also the excellent stewardship of the state, local communities and other partners who maintain their natural beauty and integrity.
With the designation, the National Park Service will work with the state and local partners to provide resources and technical expertise to promote the development and recognition of the trail.