Photography 101: Treasure

Our National Treasures…

There are nearly 400 treasured units maintained and preserved by the National Park Service. Among these include national parks, monuments, preserves, recreation areas, lakes and seashores, rivers, trails and parkways. Also included are various historic and archaeological units including landmarks, memorials and battlefields. While national forests are maintained by the US Department of Agriculture I include them in my national park category because I treasure them as such. It has been my goal to visit each of these units both of the National Park Service and forest. I lost count at 56, even so I know I have a very long way to go. Here are just a few samples of our national treasures.

Parks listed in order top to bottom:
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, Kentucky & Tennessee
Lassen National Volcanic Park, California
Coronado National Forest, Arizona
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey & Pennsylvania
Castillo de San Marcos National  Monument, Florida
Serpent Mound, National Historic Landmark, Ohio
Colonial National Historic Park, Virginia
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Death Valley National Park, California
Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Acadia National Park, Maine
Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Blue Ridge National Parkway, North Carolina & Virginia

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Protected Places: Amnicon Falls State Park, Wisconsin

The Amnicon Falls State Park is known for four falls on the Amnicon River but it’s also rich in history and geography. The plunge pool below Amnicon Upper Falls is popular for swimming. Above the falls there are several small drops. There are two other falls; the Snake Pit Falls and the Now and Then Falls, a seasonal waterfall. Between the upper and lower Amnicon Falls is a covered bridge that provides a nice frame for the upper falls.

Upper Amnicon Falls & Plunge Pool

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Lower Amnicon Falls & Old bridge

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Amnicon River

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Old bridge

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Amnicon River

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Amnicon River drops (mini-falls)

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Protected Places: Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Petrified Forest

The name Petrified Forest comes from the large deposits of petrified (turned to stone) wood. The park is desert and badlands. It has been a park since 1962 to protect the petrified wood. Activities include hiking and backpacking as well as sightseeing and photography. It is known for fossilized fallen trees from the late Triassic period of 225 mya

It is part of the Colorado plateau which also includes other great parks such as Arches, Canyonlands and the Colorado National Monument.

The area was inhabited at least 8000 years ago and the park is active with more than 600

There are over 400 species of flora including more than 100 species of grass as well as flowering grasses such as sagebrush, evening primrose and Mariposa lily. Some trees and shrubs can be found including willows and cottonwoods,

Animal life includes pronghorns, jackrabbits, coyotes, bobcats, mule deer, foxes and prairie dogs as well as various rodents, reptiles and insects including scorpions, bats, 216 species of bird

Much of the park is located within the Painted Desert which gets its name from the colorful Chinle, the area is susceptible to erosion due to the lack of vegetation and is make up of cliffs, gullies, mesas and buttes.

The Painted Desert is comprised of badlands in the Four Corners area where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado come together. The desert is made up stratified layers of soft rock including limestone, shale, and siltstone. The various colors in the layers come from various mineral.

Protected Places: Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park is located near Tucson, Arizona adjacent Coronado National Forest and only a few miles from Saguaro National Park. As with too many of my stops along the way this one was too short. I was in the area visiting Saguaro and needed a place to camp. That seems to be the reason I’ve found so many unique places.

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There are great hiking and backpacking trails winding around the base of the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountain and desert landscapes. But unfortunately that’s all I was able to do. There is some fascinating wildlife including 150 species of birds, big horn sheep and a wide variety of reptiles. But what I didn’t expect was the history or I should say the prehistory. Archaeology is important to the area and there are many prehistoric sites and ruins.

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