The National Park Service turns 100 this year (the centennial is technically August 25, but we're blowing up the balloons a little early) and we've gotta say, the many parks under their care are looking pretty incredible for their age. To ring in this year of celebration, we've pored over the Instagram account for the U.S. Department of the Interior to find 21 of the most beautiful shots from National Parks all over the country. Here they are in totally random, not preferential order (we love all our national parks equally).
1. CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, UTAH
2. GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, ARIZONA
3. ZION NATIONAL PARK, UTAH
4. CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, OREGON
5. SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VIRGINIA
6. ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, MAINE
7. JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA
8. GREAT BASIN NATIONAL PARK, NEVADA
9. ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO
10. MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, WASHINGTON
11. GATES OF THE ARCTIC NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE, ALASKA
12. GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, NORTH CAROLINA AND TENNESSEE
13. YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING
14. OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, WASHINGTON
15. DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK, FLORIDA
16. GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA
17. BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO
Meet Betty Reid Soskin, the Country's Oldest Park Ranger
BY Kirstin Fawcett
December 21, 2017
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
There’s no age limit for enjoying the outdoors, switching careers, or speaking out against injustice—and Betty Reid Soskin is living proof. As Travel + Leisure reports, the 96-year-old California resident is the nation’s oldest active national park ranger, a late-in-life vocation she embarked on just over a decade ago.
Soskin, who originally hails from Detroit, works at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. The national park preserves the history of the U.S. home front during World War II, including the businesses, innovations, and people that helped make victory possible. (Richmond was once home to more than 56 different war industries.)
Today, Soskin gives interpretive tours of the park. But long ago, she worked as a World War II file clerk for the all-black Boilermakers A-36. Soskin—the great-granddaughter of a freed slave—gained local prominence as an activist, and fame as a songwriter, during the Civil Rights Movement. But history ended up being just as important to Soskin as current political events when she served as a consultant with the National Park Service for the Rosie the Riveter Park in the early 2000s.
Soskin was the only person of color at the planning table, according to NPR. She ensured that the historic park didn’t erase memories of the segregation that had once existed at factories and shipyards, as doing so would also erase the history of the area’s African-American population.
Word of Soskin and her activist efforts spread, especially when she publicly denounced the 2013 federal funding crisis. In 2015 she was formally recognized by President Barack Obama, who gave her a silver coin with the presidential seal. Sadly, Soskin’s presidential coin was stolen in 2016 in a violent home invasion, but she returned to work three weeks after the attack, saying in a press conference that she “wanted to get back into routine life.”
Fans of Soskin can keep up with her via her blog, where she’s written about her life and job since 2003. You can also learn more about her, in her own words, in the video below.
Yellowstone National Park is home to rivers, waterfalls, and hot springs, but Old Faithful is easily its most iconic landmark. Every 45 to 125 minutes, visitors gather around the geyser to watch it shoot streams of water reaching up to 100 feet in the air. The punctual show is one of nature’s greatest spectacles, but new research from scientists at the University of Utah suggests that what’s going on at the geyser’s surface is just the tip of the iceberg.
The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, features a map of the geological plumbing system beneath Old Faithful. Geologists have long known that the eruptions are caused by water heated by volcanic rocks beneath the ground reaching the boiling point and bubbling upwards through cracks in the earth. But the place where this water simmers between appearances has remained mysterious to scientists until now.
Using 133 seismometers scattered around Old Faithful and the surrounding area, the researchers were able to record the tiny tremors caused by pressure build-up in the hydrothermal reservoir. Two weeks of gathering data helped them determine just how large the well is. The team found that the web of cracks and fissures beneath Old Faithful is roughly 650 feet in diameter and capable of holding more than 79 million gallons of water. When the geyser erupts, it releases just 8000 gallons. You can get an idea of how the reservoir fits into the surrounding geology from the diagram below.
Sin-Mei Wu, University of Utah
After making the surprising discovery, the study authors plan to return to the area when park roads close for the winter to conduct further research. Next time, they hope to get even more detailed images of the volatile geology beneath this popular part of Yellowstone.