Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wildlife Vacations: Exploring the United States

You don't have to travel 10,000 miles to go on a wildlife safari, viewing majestic beasts in their natural habitats. The United States is home to hundreds of wildlife parks and refuges for mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, big and small. In fact, 757 wildernesses make up the National Wilderness Preservation System accounting for a total of 109,511,966 acres of protected land. However, only about 5% of the United States is protected as wilderness.

These parks and refuges are some of the best in the United States. Where visitors can see these spectacular critters in their environment, some as they have been for thousands of years.

Olympic National Park - Washington

Olympic is situated in coastal Washington State where visitors can see raccoons, beaver, mink, elk, deer, cougars, and bears on land and dolphins, whales, sea lions, seals, and sea otters just offshore in the Pacific Ocean.

Moose Alley - New Hampshire

Be careful driving this section of Rte 3 as it's a dependable place for moose spotting, particularly at dawn or dusk. The last eleven miles of route three is Moose Alley.

Everglades National Park - Florida

The Everglades National Park is a World Heritage site which protects unparalleled landscape as habitat for numerous rare and endangered critters such as the American crocodile, manatee and Florida panther.

Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming, Montana, Idaho

Mount Washburn hike in Wyoming is particularly recommended by park workers for its elk, grizzly and black bears, bison, wolves, and moose.

Rocky Mountain National Park - Colorado

From mighty elk to rare boreal toads, bighorn sheep to mountain lions, bobcats to black bears, there are 67 mammals, 5 amphibians and reptiles, and 282 species of birds in the park.

Land Between the Lakes - Kentucky

Land Between the Lakes Recreational Area is home to white-tail deer, turkey, foxes, snakes, coyotes, and a drive-through elk and bison prairie.

Assateauge Island National Seashore - Maryland

Explore sandy beaches and beautiful wild ponies running free. The are most likely descendants of horses shipwrecked hundreds of years ago so enjoy from afar! The best time to visit is mid-May to October.

National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge - Montana

Drive and hike through the range as the bison roam free along with elk, white tail and mule deer.

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge - New Jersey

Close to being turned into an airport, this swamp is home to 39 species of mammals including the red fox, white-tail deer, coyotes, raccoons, river otter, as well as 42 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 10 species of bats.

The Wilds - Ohio

Considered one of the largest conservation centers in the US, The Wilds sits on over 10,000 acres of natural, open range habitat. The Wilds is available for mountain biking, zip lining, horseback riding and more and is home to mammals such as bison, antelope, giraffe, zebra, cheetah... see you really don't have to go all the way to Africa!

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Bison, longhorn cattle, deer, prairie dogs, eagles and elusive elk call these prairie and grasslands home in the Wichita Mountains.

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge - Texas

Watch out for bobcats and alligators in the 34,000 acres of prairies and wetland refuge.

Nulhegan Basin in Silvio O Conte National Wildlife Refuge - Vermont

One of the state's best kept secrets as it possesses high diversity and rare species where visitors can see moose, black bears, and white-tailed deer.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park- North Carolina and Tennessee

Biological diversity is the hallmark of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors of the park can see 65 species of mammals including elk as they were reintroduced in 2001, as well as 13 frogs and toads. It is also the "salamander capital of the world" hosting 5 families of salamanders and 30 species.

Some of the biggest threats to wilderness are overuse, pollution, and lack of public awareness. The latter is just one thing that LittleCritterz is devoted to. By spreading awareness of the wilderness systems, we hope to save the land, the animals, the plants and the ecosystem for future generations. We believe that if something is not known, it cannot be understood. If something is not understood, it is not valued. If something isn't valued, it isn't loved. If it isn't loved, it isn't protected. If it isn't protected, it is lost. We don't want to lose it.


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