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.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Secretary Salazar, Congressman Farr Celebrate Newly Established Pinnacles National Park
Office of the Secretary
President signed bill making monument 59th national park
PAICINES, CA – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined U.S. Representative Sam Farr, California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird, National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz and other local officials to celebrate the elevation of Pinnacles National Monument to become Pinnacles National Park, joining iconic sites such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone as the country's 59th national park.
“What President Theodore Roosevelt began with a stroke of his pen when he created Pinnacles National Monument in 1908, President Obama last month completed by signing legislation sponsored by Representative Sam Farr and Senator Barbara Boxer to designate this extraordinary landscape as a national park,” Salazar said. “Like other national parks across our country, Pinnacles not only takes visitors' breath away with its natural beauty but it also provides opportunities for outdoor recreation and supports economic growth and jobs in the local community.”
With its close proximity to San Francisco and other major cities, Pinnacles last year welcomed more than 343,000 visitors who spent $4.8 million and supported 48 jobs in the local economy, Salazar noted.
“Visitors have long been drawn to our region's beautiful coast,” said Representative Farr. “With the new designation as Pinnacles National Park, they will now want to come visit our magnificent cliffs. Pinnacles was the missing book in the National Park's library but today this geological and ecological wonder takes its rightful place on the shelf next to our nation's other great parks.”
"I am so proud that we are officially welcoming Pinnacles as California's ninth National Park," Senator Boxer said. "By elevating Pinnacles to a National Park, we are saying that this is one of the most special places in America. Californians have long enjoyed its spectacular rock formations and diverse wildlife, but this designation will ensure that Pinnacles gets the national attention it deserves.”
Located near the San Andreas Fault in the Gabilan Mountains east of central California's Salinas Valley, Pinnacles is an excellent example of tectonic plate movement. The Pinnacles Rocks are believed to be part of the Neenach Volcano that occurred 23 million years ago near present-day Lancaster, California, some 195 miles southeast. The San Andreas Fault split the volcano and the Pacific Plate crept north, carrying the Pinnacles.
The park encompasses 27,000 acres of diverse wild lands including massive monoliths, spires, cave passages and canyons, the result of millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement. Its rock formations attract climbers of all skill levels, and visitors marvel at its annual tapestry of spring wildlife flowers and more than 400 species of native bees.
The park also provides habitat for 31 endangered California condors. Since 2003, the park has been a partner of the California Condor Recovery Program and provides one of three condor release sites in the country.
“Pinnacles National Monument has long been a shining example of California's unique ecosystem, geology and unrivaled beauty,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird. “With this dedication as California's ninth national park, Pinnacles is taking its rightful place as one of America's most treasured wild places.”
In January, President Obama signed the The Pinnacles National Park Act, recognizing the broader significance of park resources, specifically the chaparral, grasslands, blue oak woodlands, and majestic valley oak savanna ecosystems of the area, the area's geomorphology, riparian watersheds, unique flora and fauna, and the ancestral and cultural history of native Americans, settlers and explorers.
The designation of Pinnacles National Park did not change the park's management since it is already part of the 398-unit National Park System.
“Pinnacles is a remarkable place, and we're glad to see its amazing resources have been recognized as worthy of the designation as a national park,” said National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. “The National Park Service will continue to ensure that those resources remain unimpaired for all to enjoy.”
In addition to changing the park's status from national monument to national park, the legislation names the park's 16,000 acres of wilderness as the Hain Wilderness, honoring Schuyler Hain who was an 1891 homesteader from Michigan. Within 20 years, Hain became known as the "Father of Pinnacles," leading tours up through Bear Valley and into the caves. Hain spoke to groups and wrote articles urging preservation of the area and acted as unofficial caretaker for many years. His efforts proved fruitful with the establishment of Pinnacles as a 2,500-acre national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt.