A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
My thoughts continue to be with all of you as this government shutdown persists. I know and appreciate that you want to be at work serving the American people in the myriad ways that Interior contributes to our country–some very visible and others behind the scenes. Last week, one of our colleagues sent me this quote from President John F. Kennedy that reflects exactly what I have felt from interacting with so many of you during the 6 months I have joined the ranks of public service:
"Let the public service be a proud and lively career. And let every man and woman who works in any area of our national government, in any branch, at any level, be able to say with pride and with honor in future years: 'I served the United States Government in that hour of our nation's need.”-- John F. Kennedy, 1961.
If there is to be a "silver lining" to this cloud of a government shutdown, it is the increased awareness of the American people to the importance of the work you do and the value that all Americans receive from their investment in you.
I profoundly hope that we will be welcoming all of you back to work soon, and that the damage done during this shutdown period can be addressed in the coming months. Please know that the President is intent on getting the government back up and running, and all of you back to work serving the American people. In the meantime, we will continue to update www.doi.gov/shutdown with information that you may find useful.