America's Great Outdoors
Arguably some of the planet’s most unique and spectacular geologic features are the narrow slot canyons of the Colorado Plateau — and the grand-daddy of them all is Buckskin Gulch in the BLM-managed Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness/National Monument. Straddling the Utah/Arizona border, this 13 mile long canyon is 400 feet deep and sometimes as narrow as six feet — not just at the bottom but all the way up to the canyon rims (thus the name “slot”). In places you can’t see the sky when looking up; only the sun’s indirect glow bouncing off the scalloped rock walls & creating an ever-changing colorful tapestry. Logs wedged between the narrow walls 20-30 feet above the stream-bed are a reminder to avoid the area during the summer monsoon, when flash floods combined with no escape routes make the canyon unsafe for hiking.Photo: Bureau of Land Management

Arguably some of the planet’s most unique and spectacular geologic features are the narrow slot canyons of the Colorado Plateau — and the grand-daddy of them all is Buckskin Gulch in the BLM-managed Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness/National Monument. Straddling the Utah/Arizona border, this 13 mile long canyon is 400 feet deep and sometimes as narrow as six feet — not just at the bottom but all the way up to the canyon rims (thus the name “slot”). In places you can’t see the sky when looking up; only the sun’s indirect glow bouncing off the scalloped rock walls & creating an ever-changing colorful tapestry. Logs wedged between the narrow walls 20-30 feet above the stream-bed are a reminder to avoid the area during the summer monsoon, when flash floods combined with no escape routes make the canyon unsafe for hiking.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

This image was taken at Balanced Rock inside Arches National Park and includes Zodiacal Light and the Milky Way.Photo: Brad Goldpaint (www.goldpaintphotography.com)

This image was taken at Balanced Rock inside Arches National Park and includes Zodiacal Light and the Milky Way.

Photo: Brad Goldpaint (www.goldpaintphotography.com)

At the edge of the Kenai Peninsula lies a land where the ice age lingers. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords' crowning feature. Wildlife thrives in icy waters and lush forests around this vast expanse of ice. Native Alutiiq relied on these resources to nurture a life entwined with the sea. Today, shrinking glaciers bear witness to the effects of our changing climate.Photo: National Park Service

At the edge of the Kenai Peninsula lies a land where the ice age lingers. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords' crowning feature. Wildlife thrives in icy waters and lush forests around this vast expanse of ice. Native Alutiiq relied on these resources to nurture a life entwined with the sea. Today, shrinking glaciers bear witness to the effects of our changing climate.

Photo: National Park Service

As spring grows ever-stronger, and snowfall makes way for rain at higher and higher elevations in the mountains, the Cascade Mountains begin to truly live up to their name. Mount Rainier National Park contains hundreds of waterfalls, from tiny seasonal streamlets that curtain the roadside cliffs on the way up to Paradise, to the massive thundering cataracts that plunge off the upper mountain. This is one of my favorites: Silver Falls, a short hike above Ohanapecosh in the southeast corner of the park, photographed in July of last year by Jeff Moore.

As spring grows ever-stronger, and snowfall makes way for rain at higher and higher elevations in the mountains, the Cascade Mountains begin to truly live up to their name. Mount Rainier National Park contains hundreds of waterfalls, from tiny seasonal streamlets that curtain the roadside cliffs on the way up to Paradise, to the massive thundering cataracts that plunge off the upper mountain. This is one of my favorites: Silver Falls, a short hike above Ohanapecosh in the southeast corner of the park, photographed in July of last year by Jeff Moore.

We have reached peak bloom at the Tidal Basin on the National Mall and Memorial Parks!Photo: Joe Milmoe, USFWS

We have reached peak bloom at the Tidal Basin on the National Mall and Memorial Parks!

Photo: Joe Milmoe, USFWS

We are excited to announce our first Insta-Meet – and it’s pretty cool. A dozen followers of the Interior Instagram account (www.instagram.com/USInterior) will be invited to participate in the re-opening of the Washington Monument on May 12, 2014! You will join in the opening festivities and be among the first to go to the top of the Monument since it was closed for repairs after the earthquake in ‘11. Oh, and we’ll throw in an awesome guided tour of the National Mall and all the monuments. We are looking for active Instagram users who will document the day in real time for their followers. To be considered, please go to www.doi.gov/InstaMeet and fill out the form. We look forward to meeting 12 of you on May 12! Photo: Diana Bowen - NPS

We are excited to announce our first Insta-Meet – and it’s pretty cool. A dozen followers of the Interior Instagram account (www.instagram.com/USInterior) will be invited to participate in the re-opening of the Washington Monument on May 12, 2014! You will join in the opening festivities and be among the first to go to the top of the Monument since it was closed for repairs after the earthquake in ‘11. Oh, and we’ll throw in an awesome guided tour of the National Mall and all the monuments. We are looking for active Instagram users who will document the day in real time for their followers. To be considered, please go to www.doi.gov/InstaMeet and fill out the form. We look forward to meeting 12 of you on May 12!

Photo: Diana Bowen - NPS

Chris Tennant took this amazing photo from Great Falls Park in Virginia. Here’s what he had to say about this photo. “These amazing falls be tricky to shoot. With so much exposed sky and without a spectacular light show you can end up with a very flat image. Lacking any clouds, I patiently waited for the “blue hour”, when the tones in the sky evened out.”

Chris Tennant took this amazing photo from Great Falls Park in Virginia. Here’s what he had to say about this photo. “These amazing falls be tricky to shoot. With so much exposed sky and without a spectacular light show you can end up with a very flat image. Lacking any clouds, I patiently waited for the “blue hour”, when the tones in the sky evened out.”

Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.Photo: Victoria Happekotte Borjesson (www.sharetheexperience.org)

Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.

Photo: Victoria Happekotte Borjesson (www.sharetheexperience.org)

There’s something about a 14,000-foot mountain looming on the horizon that draws the attention of photographers. Yet Mount Rainier isn’t the only spectacular bit of scenery in our park! The Tatoosh Range, half the size of Rainier and a dozen times older, can also make for breathtaking photography. This image of Eagle Peak in the snow, beautifully framed and photographed by Jill Foster on March 4, 2012 and shared in the Mount Rainier National Park photo group at http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS, is a good example. There are great pictures everywhere. Just keep your eyes open, and look away from the big volcano now and then!

There’s something about a 14,000-foot mountain looming on the horizon that draws the attention of photographers. Yet Mount Rainier isn’t the only spectacular bit of scenery in our park! The Tatoosh Range, half the size of Rainier and a dozen times older, can also make for breathtaking photography. This image of Eagle Peak in the snow, beautifully framed and photographed by Jill Foster on March 4, 2012 and shared in the Mount Rainier National Park photo group at http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS, is a good example. There are great pictures everywhere. Just keep your eyes open, and look away from the big volcano now and then!

A whale enjoys a beautiful afternoon off the coast of Maine in Acadia National Park.Photo: Chad Thomas (www.sharetheexperience.org)

A whale enjoys a beautiful afternoon off the coast of Maine in Acadia National Park.

Photo: Chad Thomas (www.sharetheexperience.org)