All this week, we are featuring some of the spectacular places in America’s Last Frontier: Alaska. First up is Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

A visit to Bering Land Bridge can feel like traveling back in time. The Bering Land Bridge provided a pathway for plants, animals and people to cross from the old world to new. Wildlife like the muskox remind us of our ancestors and how geography has shaped humankind. These iconic herbivores sport curved horns and can weigh between 400-800 pounds. Although their populations have fluctuated over the last century, today they number around 3,800 in the state of Alaska. National Park Service Photo.

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#mypubliclandsroadtrip Recap!

This summer, we headed out on a virtual roadtrip to public lands across the country.  From coast to coast - plus Alaska - we explored beautiful landscapes and unique resources and met employees behind-the-scenes.

This week through Labor Day, join us for a #mypubliclandsroadtrip wrap up! We’ll highlight roadtrip favorites from the summer - and throw in a few new places to explore.  Check out storymaps of all roadtrip stops here: http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/roadtrip

This Man Was Fined For Picking Berries In A Park: Can You Say 'Ridiculous?'

This Man Was Fined For Picking Berries In A Park: Can You Say ‘Ridiculous?’

With the cost of food rising and famous chefs using wild plants, foraging has become a popular way to supplement the groceries. For some, it’s a pleasurable family outing. For others, a matter of eating healthy or not at all. And some folks just like the taste of wild plants. For Greg Visscher, it has been a family pastime for years. He found himself in Wheaton Regional Park last month, picking…

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It’s National Public Lands Day!

Join our colleagues at the Bureau of Land Management in celebrating the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day (NPLD), the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Celebrate with volunteers in your community at parks and other public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management is hosting an #NPLD20 Social Media Meetup on September 28 to help you share your experiences volunteering on National Public Lands Day! Visit http://blm.gov/npld to join in on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Yonder. They’ll retweet, reblog, like, and share the best pictures and posts throughout the day.

Are you a Woodsy Owl fan?  While we’re not sure if Woodsy Owl is a protected species, did you know that he is a Federally protected mascot, covered by criminal statute?  When researching this post, we came across an ominous “Use Restriction” note in our online catalog:

Use Restriction(s): Restricted - Possibly
Note: The use and reproduction of the Woodsy Owl symbol is restricted by Public Law 82-359, as amended by P.L. 93-318, Title 18 U.S.C. 711A, and 36 CFR 272.

We ran it past Hannah Bergman, our resident legal eagle from the Office of General Counsel and this was her response:

“This is the most enjoyable question I’ve answered all day. Woodsy is so cute. Plus he is protected by criminal statute. That’s amazing. The reg says:

Official materials produced for the Woodsy Owl campaign may be used without express approval from the Chief of the Forest Service where such use is solely for the purpose of increasing public knowledge about wise use of the environment and programs which foster maintenance and improvement of environmental quality.

I think your proposed gif sounds like it fits within that exception, so you should be fine.”

Thanks again, Hannah - and Happy National Public Lands Day!

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El Capitan in Yosemite National Park (California) glows at sunset. This effect is known as alpenglow, and it commonly occurs Yosemite during the winter months. iPhone photos by Kari Cobb.

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#mypubliclandsroadtrip Recap – BLM Eastern States

This week, we’re featuring the most popular locations and resources from our virtual summer road trip to BLM-managed public lands across the country.  

We kicked off the #mypubliclandsroadtrip in June with BLM Eastern States - basically, the 31 states east of the Mississippi.  We met scientists with bats and baby woodpeckers, and had some time behind-the-scenes with the Jackson Hotshot crew. But you just can’t beat cute beach critters and beautiful sunsets along the coast.

Check out all BLM Eastern States photos on My Public Lands Flickr, or view the BLM Eastern States storymap journal!

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This skunk family at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge is so stinkin’ cute!

Nestled in central Wisconsin, Necedah hosts habitats including wetlands, prairies, savannas and forests. The usfws refuge is home to whooping cranes, trumpeter swans, skunks and red-headed woodpeckers. Visitors to Necedah can enjoy great hiking trails and wildlife viewing. Video by Ariel Lepito.

California Coastal National Monument at Crescent City, California – Bob Wick, Instagram Guest Photographer 

About the photo: Using a very slow shutter speed (several seconds or more) softens moving water and helps convey a sense of movement.  In addition to using this technique on rivers and waterfalls, it works great to capture ocean and large lake waves as shown here on California’s far north Coast. This image was taken in Crescent City, the northernmost town along the 1,100 mile California Coastal National Monument. The National Monument and the tall trees in nearby Redwood National Park make this a photographers paradise.

Camera Settings: Lens focal length: 70mm, aperture: f22, shutter speed: 6 seconds, ISO 50

The slopes of Mount Rainier in Washington are a patchwork of brilliant fall colors this time of year. Mount Rainier National Park is located southeast of Seattle and has more than 260 miles of maintained trails – making it a perfect place to explore the beauty of our public lands. Photo by National Parks Service.

This Saturday (September 29) is National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest, one-day volunteer and recreation event. Over 170,000 volunteers at over 2,100 sites are slated to participate this year. Volunteers in every state will visit parks, urban green spaces, beaches, wildlife preserves and forests to chip in to help these treasured places that belong to all of us. They will improve and restore the lands the public uses for recreation, education, exercise and connecting with nature.

Additionally, all national parks, monuments, forests, recreation areas, and other federal public lands are waiving all recreation fees in honor of National Public Lands Day. This will give you that chance to finally go see Rocky Mountain National Park, the Grand Canyon, and hundreds of other beautiful publicly owned lands without having to pay an entrance fee! 

photo, h/t mypubliclands

This Land Is Your Land: Why National Parks Matter

Our national parks are public treasures that provide more than a window to our past or a means to preserve the natural bounty within them. They’re some of the most beautiful places on Earth, where you can rekindle your sense of awe and adventure.

By Douglas H. Chadwick