For many, fall conjures images of blizzards of golden leaves, the eerie bugles of bull elk, and the first crisp, possibly snow-dusted, days of year’s end. For the northern half of the country these are the realities of the National Park System. There are the breathtaking days of hiking, watching wildlife on the move, and even tasting the season in the bounties of wild berries and other fruits.
Acadia National Park
National parks harbor some of the greatest landscapes for scientific exploration, whether terrestrial, marine, or freshwater. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will stress that connection Friday when she visits Acadia National Park and applauds the work the Schoodic Institute does to connect and engage youth with earth sciences.
Despite advances made into the 21st century, some of the most striking posters promoting the national parks are those produced shortly before World War II by the Works Progress Administration. The artistry that went into these silk-screened promotions remains as striking today as it was 75 years ago. And if you find yourself in Washington, D.C., in the coming months, you can understand why with a visit to the Interior Department to see a collection of the posters.
Making sense out of National Park System visitation statistics can be tough due to faulty counters, late opening dates, and storms that close parks. All that considered, though, attendance at the parks seems to be up a bit this year through the first six months.
One of the great destinations at Acadia National Park isn't on Mount Desert Island off Maine's coast. Rather, it's down coast a bit, on the Isle au Haut, where roughly half of the island is part of the national park. While the Park Service has been working with daily visitor limits since the late 1980s, park officials now want to update those numbers, and hope you'll lend your thoughts.
I write this from the south shore of Lake Superior, not far from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Two days ago, while casually birding the lakeshore, my wife Sarah spotted a Black-crowned Night-heron. That’s an extremely unusual bird to find as far north as the Superior shore.
Did you hear the news? National parks, those wondrous and scenic expanses of Nature's eye candy, those wild and rumpled landscapes that test your skills and will kill you if you're not careful and prepared, or maybe just in the wrong place at the wrong time, are boring. They've been transformed -- or, perhaps, kept since their creation -- as "drive-through museums."
Two trails have been added at Acadia National Park, where the additions make it easier for campers in the Blackwoods Campground to explore parts of the park without driving.
Summer can pose a difficult problem for national park travelers: Where do you go and what should you do? Traveler’s Facebook audience had some great ideas for family hikes in the parks, and we’re happy to share them with you.
Rum Island on Long Pond in Acadia National Park in Maine will be closed to the public through mid-July so you won't ruffle the feathers of loons that nest there.