I like birding New Year’s resolutions. They seem easier to keep than the traditional ones. Losing weight and giving up assorted vices aren’t really all that fun, but there’s not much about birding that isn’t fun.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
From striking craggy pinnacles to cavernous underground lairs, the national parks are renowned for their grand wildernesses. However, the inhabitants of these landscapes – the wilds’ wildlife – are perhaps the most beloved of the parks’ draws. Animals of the national parks, including many threatened or endangered species, also provide a significant scientific service: They are indicators of the overall health of their environments.
There are national park units long-accepted for their fall colors, and then there are the surprising destinations that brighten up the landscape. Here are a handful of them for your consideration.
While all national parks have abundant wildlife throughout the year, fall is prime time. Birds and animals are on the move, preparing for winter, and courting. They’re busy and plentiful.
Taiga is a word of just two syllables, and yet it connotes remoteness. Its synonym – boreal – is slightly more familiar, though it too conjures the distant, the mysterious. But if you travel to the Great Lakes, to the national lakeshores that line the southern shores of those inland oceans known as Superior and Michigan, you can find yourself deep in the coniferous forests, the taiga or boreal forests, more familiar to the Canadian landscapes to the north.
Will the National Park Service soon be pushing for more wilderness designations? That's difficult to say, in large part because only Congress can designate wilderness. Still, there's an effort under way by the Park Servie to take a look at wilderness possibilities across the park system.
When talk builds around some of the best small towns in America when it comes to putting down roots, you're bound to come upon a handful or so of national park gateway towns. And the folks at Liveability.com have made it official with their list of the Top 100 Best Small Towns."
Skim down through the list of centennial projects that will help paint buildings, repair trails, restore fisheries, help giant sequoias thrive, involve youth in the parks, and you have to give thanks to park friends groups. Corporate America? Not so much.
National Park Week officially kicks off tomorrow, April 18, and if you're wondering how to celebrate, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation have some ideas.
Looking for a birding festival in the National Park System? You can add the woods and shorelines of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which is hosting its very first birding festival this May.