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: Secretary Salazar Designates Six New National Natural Landmarks
Office of the Secretary
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today designated six new national natural landmarks in four western states that are home to unique natural treasures including hanging gardens, fossil footprints and rare Palouse prairie.
“One of the major goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative is to develop a conservation ethic for the 21st Century,” Salazar said. “By designating these remarkable sites in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington as national natural landmarks, we help establish and pass down to future generations those awe-inspiring places that make America truly beautiful.”
The new national natural landmarks are Barfoot Park, Golden Fossil Areas, Hanging Lake, Kahlotus Ridgetop, Round Top Butte, and The Island. Each site has been identified and evaluated through a rigorous process - including a scientific evaluation and public comment period - to formally acknowledge their outstanding and unique biological or geological features.
“This program not only encourages preservation of our nation's natural heritage but it also enhances our scientific understanding of these unique places,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Some of the landmarks are the best remaining examples of a type of feature in our nation – sometimes in the world – and we should continue to recognize and study these important natural features.”
There are 591 national natural landmarks with today's addition of:
Barfoot Park in the Chiricahua Mountains of southern Arizona supports an unusual mix of Sierra Madre and Rocky Mountain flora and fauna that includes four pine species and 18 other tree species. It also includes more than 15 acres of talus slopes, along with three meadows and two permanent springs. The landmark encompasses 680 acres of federal land managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
The 19-acre Golden Fossil Areas west and north of Golden, Colo., were designated as an extension to the existing Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark, and will now be known as the Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas National Natural Landmark. The Golden Fossil Areas are among the most important paleontological sites in the Front Range and the western United States. They are known internationally as the only sites in the world to have produced a number of unique fossil footprints representing reptiles, birds, and mammals.
Hanging Lake National Natural Landmark is located along I-70, east of Glenwood Springs, Colo. The site is an outstanding example of a lake formed by travertine deposition. The lake and associated falls support a rare wetland ecosystem, including hanging gardens. The 72-acre site is situated within the White River National Forest.
Kahlotus Ridgetop National Natural Landmark is a remnant of the Palouse Prairie located about four miles north of Kahlotus, Wash. The Palouse Prairie is the most endangered and the most altered landscape in the inland Pacific Northwest. Approximately 1 percent of the original prairie remains and occurs in small fragments in developed landscapes. This 240-acre site is managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Round Top Butte National Natural Landmark includes a basaltic butte, flat volcanic plains and small hills near Medford, Ore. Its vegetation is a mix of dry grassland, ponderosa pine, white oak and buck brush. The habitats are exceptional because they are dominated by native bunchgrasses. The new landmark encompasses 747 acres in two parcels: an established Research Natural Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and a preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy.
The Island National Natural Landmark is located on an isolated plateau at the confluence of the Deschutes and Crooked rivers in east-central Oregon. This 208-acre site supports one of the best known and least disturbed examples of native juniper savanna located within the Columbia Plateau. The Island is also a designated Research Natural Area, and is jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
Administered by the National Park Service, the National Natural Landmarks Program http://www.nature.nps.gov/nnl/ was established in 1962. It is the only natural areas program of national scope to encourage the preservation of the best remaining examples of the nation's biological and geological features in both public and private ownership. The federal action of designation imposes no new land use restrictions that were not in effect before the designation.