March's best wildlands photos

Great Horned Owl in southwest Louisiana, Mermentau River Basin. Scroll down the page for the story behind this photo. 

Dennis Demcheck

From amazing sunsets, to candid wildlife shots, our nation's public lands provided some fantastic material for wilderness photographers in March.

Here are some of our favorite photos, shared through the social media channels of our nation's public land agencies and outdoor conservation groups. These nature photos serve as a good reminder of what we can preserve when we choose to protect our wildlands. From the grandeur of our national parks to the wildlife that thrive in our refuges, there is so much worth saving!

Rays of light, Great Smokies

Sunset over Great Smoky Mountains National Park in March, via Facebook, U.S. Department of the Interior

Starry night in Utah

Inside Double Arch at Arches National Park in March. According to the photographer's Facebook page, the photo was taken with a 15 mm fisheye and "does the scale of this spot no justice." Photo by LightAlive Photography via Arches National Park.

Burrowing owls welcome spring

These burrowing owls were spotted on March 25 as the first-of-the-season sighting at Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge, Colorado. Photo by USFWS via Facebook, USFWS Mountain Prairie Region

Sunset at LaCreek National Wildlife Refuge, South Dakota

Birds fly during sunset at LaCreek National Wildlife Refuge, South Dakota.  Photo by mkoerner, USFWS, via Facebook, Interior Department.

Pasque flowers bloom at Rocky Mountain National Park

According to Rocky Mountain National Park's Facebook page, in the first weeks of April, "the lavender colored petals of the Pasque flower will begin brightening up the park's meadows as a sure sign of spring. Look for them in the park along south-facing slopes and in the lower meadows of the park." Photo from Rocky Mountain National Park via National Parks Traveler

Tips for wildflower hunting

Potential national monument in New Mexico 

An amazing sunrise over the Organ Mountains of New Mexico. The Wilderness Society and partner groups are working to protect this area as a national monument. You can learn about the campaign and see more great photos of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks area herePhoto by Wayne Suggs via Facebook, Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument.

Bighorn sheep

Bighorn sheep in Wyoming. Photo by BLM Wyoming, Kathy Lichtendahl. 

Sandhill Cranes, Great Sand Dunes, Colo.

Sandhill Cranes fly over wetlands west of Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. According to the Great Sand Dunes National Park Facebook page, there were hundreds flying into the wetlands of the dunes in early March. The numbers are now decreasing with warmer weather. Photo by NPS/Patrick Myers. Via Facebook, Department of the Interior

Snowy March sunrise, Charles M. Russel Wildlife Refuge, Montana

Charles M. Russel Wildlife Refuge, Montana, may have been snowy and cold in early March, but it sure was pretty. Photo by MaryJo Hill / USFWS via Facebook, USFWS Mountain Prairie Region

Eagles at Kenai Fjords

Two bald eagles perched at Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park, via Facebook, Kenai Fjords National Park. In March, the park looked back on the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. According to the park, oil reached the shores of Kenai Fjords National Park two weeks after the spill in Prince William Sound. Approximately 20 miles of the park's coastline was oiled.

Smokey Mountain National Park

Sunrise at Great Smokey Mountains National Park in late May. Photo by Wendell Franks via Facebook, National Parks Traveler and Great Smokey Mountains Association

Bison in Wyoming

Bison at National Elk Refuge, Wyoming. Photo by  USFWS via Facebook, USFWS Mountain Prairie Region.  

Great Horned Owl

According to the Interior Department's Facebook page, Dennis Demcheck a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) employee, snapped this photo of a female Great Horned Owl nesting in a Live Oak tree.  "She was 'staring me down' because she had eggs to protect." Demcheck said. The photo was taken in southwest Louisiana in the Mermentau River Basin near the town of Thornwell.


Take your own photos: Grab our Tips for photographing wildlife on wildlands

Got great wilderness photos? Share them on our Wilderness 50th Anniversary flickr page