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, Jarvis Announce Designation of 54 New National Recreation Trails
Office of the Secretary
Announcement comes in advance of Saturday's National Trails Day
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced the designation of 54 trails as national recreation trails, adding almost 1,400miles of trails to the National Trails System. Spanning 23 states, the land and water trails provide opportunities for communities to connect to the great outdoors.
“From Alabama to Alaska, these national recreation trails provide a gateway to outdoor recreation in both urban and rural areas,” said Secretary Salazar. "I am proud to partner with communities across the nation to expand this extraordinary network of trails, allowing more Americans to enjoy the great outdoors.”
Today's announcement comes in advance of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 2, when hundreds of organized activities – including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications – will take place around the country. A listing of activities is available at http://www.americanhiking.org/national-trails-day/.
“Today's trails join a network of more than 1,150 previously-designated trails that span more than 13,650 miles,.” said Director Jarvis. “As we celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, I encourage everyone to explore a trail – new or old – and enjoy the natural world.”
The national trail system has become so extensive that if all the trails were laid end to end they would cross the entire country more than four times, offering millions of Americans opportunities to bike, hike, paddle and spend time with their family and friends outdoors, Jarvis noted.
National recreation trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. Each of the new national recreation trails will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Salazar, and a set of trail markers.
The national recreation trail program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the national recreation trails website at http://www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.
The following 54 trails have been designated as national recreation trails. For more information on each trail, please click here.
Alabama State Lands Bartram Canoe Trail
Blevins Gap Nature Preserve Trail System
Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary Trail System
Goose Pond Colony Nature and Walking Trail
Monte Sano Nature Preserve Trail System
Oak Mountain Red Trail
Scottsboro City Park Walking Trail
Sokol Park Mountain Bike Trail System
The Forever Wild Coon Creek Trail System
The Forever Wild Freedom Hills Trail System
The Forever Wild Shoal Creek Preserve Trail System
The Forever Wild Walls of Jericho Trail System
The Forever Wild Wehle Trail System
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve Trail System
Beaver Creek Water Trail
Aliso Creek Regional Bikeway, Riding and Hiking Trail