Band-e-Amir is Afghanistan's first national park, struggling to keep tourists visiting its beautiful mountains and lakes.
In 1962, Yorkshire man Brendon Grimshaw bought the island of Moyenne in the middle of the Indian Ocean for £8000. He has since dedicated his life to turning it into a tropical paradise; including planting over sixteen thousand trees, building nearly five kilometers for nature paths, and reintroducing over 100 land tortoises. It's now the world's smallest National Park. [more inside]
Symbolic Gestures. How, exactly, does a simple picture go about telling you, "Be careful here. It's cold, and sometimes ice forms on the roof, and it can fall off, and it can be sharp, and that can hurt you"? Inspired by the upcoming Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, Jesse Smith of The Smart Set examines the pictograph designs that convey important information to park visitors. [more inside]
Everyone knows about The Alamo, (previously) but perhaps you didn't know that San Antonio has the largest concentration of Spanish Missions in the United States. Known collectively as "The San Antonio Missions," they are now part of the National Park System (map). The other four south of the Alamo are respectively, Mission Concepción, (which stands as it was built in 1755 and is the oldest unrestored church in America) and the restored Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission Espada, (warning: some of QTVR links will resize browser) as well as a length of the Acacia system that is still used for irrigation today. The four churches also house active parishes which operate independently from the NPS. [more inside]
The unprecedented slaughter of over 1600 of Yellowstone's bison this winter (resulting in a 50% decrease in the overall size of the herd) will go down as the largest wild bison kill since the 19th century. Despite vehement protests and bold acts of civil disobedience instigated by the Buffalo Field Campaign, the slaughter will continue according to the tax-payer supported Bison Interagency Plan - the goal of the plan being to prevent economic losses from the unlikely spread of brucellosis (a cattle disease) from Yellowstone bison into Montana and Wyoming's livestock. TERRA aired a gripping three-part 'fly-on-the-wall' film series chronicling the story: ONE, TWO, THREE. [more inside]
Sequoiadendron giganteum, the giant sequoia, is arguably the largest living thing on earth. The second largest specimen, the Washington Tree, has recently been getting shorter. It's top was discovered to be hollow in 1999--a researcher rappeled over 100 feet into the trunk--which is why its been vulnerable to fire and storms in recent years. The before and after pictures show its transformation from a tree into, well, a great big stump. But don't count it out just yet. Scientists think this old bugger may bounce back. Still, it's probably time for a visit, don't you think?