America's Great Outdoors
This kodiak bear in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge clearly doesn’t care about the refuge rules.Photo: Steve Hillebrand, USFWS

This kodiak bear in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge clearly doesn’t care about the refuge rules.

Photo: Steve Hillebrand, USFWS

Sunrise over Buck Hollow Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, July 2014.Photo; National Park Service

Sunrise over Buck Hollow Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, July 2014.

Photo; National Park Service

Grand Teton National Park by Gary Rowe. 
The holy grail of photographs, for many photographers, is to capture the milky way, streaming across the dark night sky. This is easier to do at Mount Rainier National Park (and many other national parks) than most other places, because we truly do still have dark skies, undiminished by street lights, porch lights, neon marquees, vehicle headlights, and stadium spotlights leaking up into the night. Even with the naked eye, on a moonless night such as the ones coming up, you’ll see more stars from the parking lot at Paradise or Sunrise than you might ever have seen elsewhere in your life. At Paradise we even have volunteer rangers with telescopes to help you get a closer view.Taking a photo of it is still a challenge. It requires a good camera with manual settings, an even better tripod to keep the camera still, and a lot of trial and error. There are many good resources online to tell you how, if you’d like to try it. But even if you aren’t so inclined, an evening laying on the hood of your car, staring up into the vast infinite of the galaxy, is an experience worth having in your national park.Photo: The Milky Way over Sunrise by Chris Weber, September 8, 2013, flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS, used with attribution under a Creative Commons license.

The holy grail of photographs, for many photographers, is to capture the milky way, streaming across the dark night sky. This is easier to do at Mount Rainier National Park (and many other national parks) than most other places, because we truly do still have dark skies, undiminished by street lights, porch lights, neon marquees, vehicle headlights, and stadium spotlights leaking up into the night. Even with the naked eye, on a moonless night such as the ones coming up, you’ll see more stars from the parking lot at Paradise or Sunrise than you might ever have seen elsewhere in your life. At Paradise we even have volunteer rangers with telescopes to help you get a closer view.

Taking a photo of it is still a challenge. It requires a good camera with manual settings, an even better tripod to keep the camera still, and a lot of trial and error. There are many good resources online to tell you how, if you’d like to try it. But even if you aren’t so inclined, an evening laying on the hood of your car, staring up into the vast infinite of the galaxy, is an experience worth having in your national park.

Photo: The Milky Way over Sunrise by Chris Weber, September 8, 2013, flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS, used with attribution under a Creative Commons license.

Sometimes it is about being in the right place at the right time to see nature’s beauty revealed like in this photo from Rocky Mountain National Park.Photo: JW Frank 

Sometimes it is about being in the right place at the right time to see nature’s beauty revealed like in this photo from Rocky Mountain National Park.

Photo: JW Frank 

In the battle between raccoon and sandhill crane, it appears we have a winner.

A raccoon attempts to snag an easy meal at one of the feeders set up to supply the Mississippi sandhills with extra calories during the nesting season at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. The two adult cranes decide that this will not happen on their watch and begin to display defensive behavior — the raccoon rethinks his strategy and decides to find lunch elsewhere! A juvenile crane (the drab colored individual) watches and learns in the background.

(Photo USFWS Camera Trap)

Summer storms make for some amazing photos from America’s public lands. Clouds moved moved fast over the Flathead River in Glacier National Park last night.Photo: National Park Service

Summer storms make for some amazing photos from America’s public lands. Clouds moved moved fast over the Flathead River in Glacier National Park last night.

Photo: National Park Service

People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.Photo of Bass Harbor Head Light: Kristi Rugg (NPS)

People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

Photo of Bass Harbor Head Light: Kristi Rugg (NPS)

One of these burrowing owl chicks clearly loves the camera! The video was filmed in the Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District. Rainwater Basin WMD manages 61 Waterfowl Production Areas comprised of over 24,000 wetland and upland acres across 13 Nebraska Counties and is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

153 years ago today, July 21, 1861, the first major battle of the Civil War unfolded on the slopes of Henry Hill and Matthews Hill. Both the North and South learned that the war would not be a short affair, settled through one decisive and epic battle.Manassas National Battlefield Park offers a wide array of activities, scenic vistas, historic sites and walking trails to interest the casual visitor or the true Civil War historian. A good place to begin your visit is the Henry Hill Visitor Center. Pick up a park brochure, map, trail guides and check out the daily schedule of interpretive programs.Photo: National Park Service

153 years ago today, July 21, 1861, the first major battle of the Civil War unfolded on the slopes of Henry Hill and Matthews Hill. Both the North and South learned that the war would not be a short affair, settled through one decisive and epic battle.

Manassas National Battlefield Park offers a wide array of activities, scenic vistas, historic sites and walking trails to interest the casual visitor or the true Civil War historian. A good place to begin your visit is the Henry Hill Visitor Center. Pick up a park brochure, map, trail guides and check out the daily schedule of interpretive programs.

Photo: National Park Service