Once one of the original land grants from Spain, the Baca Ranch became a national wildlife refuge in 2000, part of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000. That Act also expanded the national park and preserve and added additional acreage to the Rio Grande National Forest. It is Colorado’s newest and largest refuge, an integral part of the greater Baca public lands complex.
Stretching 150 miles, the barrier islands and coastal mainland that make up the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi and Florida are an immense playground for kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide a nesting home for four out of seven species of sea turtles and bottlenose dolphins. And intensely white sand beaches provide ample room for wandering wild coastline.
First introduced to Congress in June by Representatives Ron Kind (D-Wisc.) and Walter Jones (R-NC), America’s Wildlife Heritage Act is rapidly gaining support from representatives across the nation. More and more members of Congress want to ensure that the public will continue to see healthy populations of fish, wildlife and plants on their walks, hikes, and canoe trips.
If you’ve been following the climate debate, you’ve probably heard these terms ad nauseum. Yet another phrase that is critical to the health of our families, economy and culture slips by too often: natural resources adaptation.
For me, wildlife perfectly embodies the wonder, whimsy, and charisma of wild places. To encounter a wild animal in a wild place pulls me quickly and deeply into the natural world — a world I notice because of the presence of another live creature in the midst. I’ve looked into the deep, brown, understanding eyes of a mountain gorilla, seen pronghorns spring through sagebrush, and been entertained by hooded merganser ducks and their precise courtship displays. Each time, I feel privileged to be a part of their same world.
Bambi, Yogi Bear, Woody Woodpecker — they should matter, too. These characters may be fictional but their real-life counterparts are often what we think of when our minds drift to the woods. They’re also what we hope to see when we actually venture out to our forests. Even spotting a baby deer alongside a city bike trail is a thrill, let alone watching a brown bear scoop up a salmony snack in Alaska.
Just six months into Obama’s presidency, we’re already beginning to see just how much we can get done with an administration that values strong scientific evidence. Last week, after years of foot-dragging by the Bush Administration, the White House released a landmark multi-agency government report on the effects of climate change on the U.S. Just a day later, a scientific report from the U.S.