Your national forests and grasslands are 193 million acres of vast, scenic beauty waiting for you to discover. Visitors who choose to recreate on these public lands find more than 150,000 miles of trails, 10,000 developed recreation sites, 57,000 miles of streams, 122 alpine ski areas, 338,000 heritage sites, and specially designated sites that include 9,100 miles of byways, 22 recreation areas, 11 scenic areas, 439 wilderness areas, 122 wild and scenic rivers, nine monuments, and one preserve. And remember, “It’s All Yours.”
Stikine Flats, Tongass National Forest
While young college students descend upon Fort Lauderdale for spring break, migratory waterfowl and shorebirds spend theirs on the Stikine (pronounced “Sti-keen”) Flats in southeast Alaska. The Stikine River Delta is one of three diverse natural ecosystems making up the Key Coastal Wetlands in the Alaska Region. This area is a critical stopover and resting ground for migrating birds as they make their journey north to their breeding grounds.
Take a trip along the southern section of the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass National Scenic Byway to the summit of the McKenzie Highway (Oregon 242) and you will find the Dee Wright Observatory settled atop vast, black lava flows. On the Cascade Range at 5,187 feet, this mountain observatory offers panoramic views of the Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed over 2,200,000 acres as the Misty Fjords National Monument. In 1980, this acreage got reduced to 2,142,243 acres but was now congressionally designated as Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness and still remains the largest wilderness area on the Tongass National Forest. Due to this designation, it is now strategically managed to continue the preservation of this undeveloped, enduring ecosystem for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Sit on a quiet bench overlooking Dyar Pasture Recreation Area and you might just feel invisible, less like an intruder and more a part of this 60-acre freshwater wetland less than 60 miles from Atlanta. Witness an amazing display of birds and wildlife engaged in their natural rituals in this peaceful, middle-Georgia wetland.