Mercury's surface in "enhanced color," a color scheme created to emphasize color differences. This is not what Mercury would look like to the human eye, but by applying mathematical analysis to images, color differences can be accentuated beyond those visible to a person.
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.
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Secretary Salazar Announces Significant Addition of Historic Ranch to Wind Cave National Park
Office of the Secretary
New Tract Features Unique Wildlife Habitat, Native American Cultural Sites; Public Dedication Ceremony Set for October 15
HOT SPRINGS, SD -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the National Park Service has acquired 5,555 acres of former ranchland, including a thousand-year-old buffalo jump and a historic homestead, that will become part of South Dakota's Wind Cave National Park.
“The addition of this historic ranch to the park will help ensure that people for generations to come can come to know and love this treasured landscape and have the opportunity to learn about the indigenous peoples of South Dakota,” said Secretary Salazar. “The park is an important economic engine for the state, and the new site will no doubt drive more tourism to the area and be a boon to the surrounding communities. I thank The Conservation Fund for their work over the years to turn this vision into a reality.”
President Theodore Roosevelt set aside Wind Cave as the country's eighth national park in 1903. Considered a sacred place by the Lakota, Wind Cave is one of the world's longest and most complex caves, known for its outstanding display of boxwork, an unusual cave formation composed of thin calcite fins resembling honeycombs. It was the first cave ever designated as a national park.
On the surface, the park now features more than 30,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie and ponderosa pine forest that provides important habitat for bison, elk, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs. It is home to one of America's most ecologically-significant bison herds, which dates back to bison relocated to the park from the Bronx Zoo and Yellowstone in the early 20th century.
Native Americans hunted buffalo on the newly acquired land over a thousand years ago, driving them over buffalo jumps, or cliffs. The tract also features Native American tipi rings and other cultural sites.
The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting important places across America, acquired the property at auction from the Casey family last year and transferred it to the Park Service. This completes a process begun in 2000 when the family approached the service about selling the land to the park.
“We would like to thank The Conservation Fund for the critical role they played in acquiring this property,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “Because of their help, we look forward to providing educational programs about the buffalo jump and historic ranch to area school children and all our visitors.”
In 2005, with support from the South Dakota Congressional delegation, Congress passed legislation to expand the park pending an appropriation to purchase the land. When the land was put up for auction by the Casey family, The Conservation Fund purchased the property to hold for the NPS until federal funding became available.
Congress appropriated the necessary funding this year from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which enables federal and state agencies to acquire lands that feature important historic, natural, scenic and economic benefits for public use and enjoyment. The fund receives significant revenue from the development of federally-owned offshore oil and gas rights.
"Over 100 years ago President Theodore Roosevelt had the foresight to protect Wind Cave," said Larry Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund. "Thanks to the outstanding bi-partisan leadership of the South Dakota Congressional delegation and the dedication of the National Park Service, we celebrate this achievement to preserve our nation's treasured lands for generations."
Park staff will now start the public planning process to allow visitors to experience this new land. This year-long process, a Visitor Access Plan/Environmental Assessment, is expected to begin this fall and will determine, among other things, where and if hiking trails will be constructed. Broader planning over the next year will address how to comprehensively integrate this land into the rest of the park and address whether or not any new visitor service facilities are needed and whether or not existing wildlife management plans are adequate.
“We are initiating a thorough process to develop a management plan for the land that will involve many opportunities for the public to participate,” said park superintendent Vidal Davila. “In the meantime, we are looking at ways to get people out on the land so they can help with the planning process.”
A public dedication for the new land will be held October 15. Additional information concerning the dedication will be released as plans become finalized.
The nation's 395 national parks welcomed more than 281 million visitors last year who spent nearly $12 billion and supported 247,000 jobs, Salazar noted. In 2010, the 104,000 visitors who toured Wind Cave spent an estimated $8.7 million and supported 148 jobs.