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.
It remains my hope that the Congress acts swiftly to reopen the Government. In the meantime, I wanted to provide a few updates and, most importantly, thank you for your ongoing commitment to public service and to the national parks.
For those who are on unplanned furlough, I want you to know that you are missed. I know many of you are spending time with your family, continuing to give back to your community through a variety of local volunteer efforts, and taking care of household business. I am sure that all of you are frustrated and would like to return to work, and it is my hope that the shutdown will end soon so we can all return to doing the jobs we love.
For those of you who are at work keeping the parks and the public safe, I want to thank you for your service and professionalism in this challenging time. Because of the lapse in funding, you are having to deliver difficult news to our visitors and partners. The functions we must perform under a shutdown are not the reasons any of us joined the National Park Service, but they are the duties we are required to perform by law and regulation. In this time, we must remain focused on our mission – first and foremost – of guarding public safety and protecting the resources with which we are entrusted. I am proud of the service you are continuing to perform, from the search and rescue operation at Craters of the Moon to the U.S. Park Police's response to the tragic incident near the Capitol last week.
The National Park System is supported and loved by the American public not only because national parks are beautiful and historic, but because they are well managed, protected, interpreted, and maintained by a professional workforce. With more than 20,000 workers on furlough during this lapse in appropriations, we must continue to devote our limited resources to the protection of life and property.
Without question, we all want to see the entire national parks and public lands system re-open to the public; we know the closures are having unfortunate impacts on countless families, businesses, and communities. Turning visitors away is simply not in our DNA.
As Ken Burns said, the National Park Service is an utterly democratic idea: for the first time in human history, land was set aside not for kings or the very rich, but for everybody. The National Park System strives to tell the story of all Americans, for all Americans. I know we all look forward to re-opening all 401 national parks so they may fulfill the purposes for which they were intended – to be enjoyed and loved by the American people.
Amid the difficulties that the ongoing shutdown poses on you and your families, I am deeply heartened by your continued commitment to public service and by the passion that the entire National Park Service family has for our mission, now approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016.
Please stay strong, safe, and continue to do your nation proud.