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 Proposes First Steps in Great Urban Park Vision for New York City
Office of the Secretary
NEW YORK — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today proposed a series of first steps to link parks and other open spaces in the New York City to enable local communities, and especially young people, to connect to the natural beauty and history of the region.
With over 13 million visitors annually, national parks in New York Harbor generate $1.8 billion and provide over 6,200 jobs for the region. Under President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative, the National Park Service - in partnership with New York City and New Jersey agencies and local communities - will invest in opportunities to increase access to the parks through an extensive New York Harbor trail and greenway network.
“What we are doing in New York will create a model for a new generation of Great Urban Parks in America,” Secretary Salazar said. “This initiative will not only strengthen local economies, but will provide citizens of the New York area -- particularly our young people -- with better access to outdoor recreation and the cultural and historical heritage that makes this part of the country unique.”
“Helping people get outside and be active is a great way to not only experience these amazing places but get a little exercise at the same time,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “A seamless network of parks and historic sites will serve as an invitation for people to come on out and have some fun and learn something new about their community.”
Salazar spoke at Floyd Bennett Field where the National Park Service is developing the largest urban park campground in America. Over a two-year period beginning in 2011, the campground will expand from 5 to 90 sites, including both traditional campsites and RV sites.
“One of the major goals of the America's Great Outdoors initiative is to provide better access to parks and outdoors spaces for the 80 percent of Americans that live in urban areas,” said Will Shafroth, Counselor to the Secretary for America's Great Outdoors. “This project at Floyd Bennett Field and the larger collaboration between the National Park Service and partners in the New York City area is an example of the great work we can do in cities across America.”
The campground may ultimately contain 600 sites. Staff and volunteers will engage in special outreach to underserved communities around the area, introducing families to camping skills, providing equipment, and offering campfire programs, kayaking and swimming opportunities.
Salazar also proposed establishing a Center for Urban Ecology to coordinate and seek private funding for the efforts of the 17 agencies and non-governmental partners on the Jamaica Bay Task Force.
Salazar said the proposed Center for Urban Ecology would potentially be located at Fort Tilden. It will serve as a hub for resident and visiting scientists, and feature laboratories, a library, lodging, office space, vessels and docking areas.
The completion of the missing links to finish the extensive New York Harbor trail and greenway network will include the development of a one-mile section through Jacob Riis Park that connects the Rockaway peninsula with the Jamaica Bay Greenway.
In addition, Salazar proposed to complete the transition, already underway, to the use of new and social media platforms to reach new, younger audiences with the stories of the region and America's historic and cultural heritage. For example, historic sites overseen by the National Park Service will be featured in six free smart-phone applications and multiple video podcasts from the service's official iTunes store.
The proposals are included in a report The National Parks of New York Harbor: Creating a Great Urban Park. The report can be found here.