Remembering old friends: A virtual visit to some of my favorite National Parks


They’ve been there my whole life, waiting for me to get to know them. And everyone I’ve come across, I’ve been amazed by in one way or another. Today, as they shut down, my thoughts wander to our national parks… they are like friends and family, waiting for us… until the government shutdown put them out of commission. I realize there are further ranging effects than this temporary loss of our National Treasures, but I don’t want us or any visitors to our land to have to do with out them. This post therefore is an homage to National Seashores and Parks, that I hope we will not be barred from for very long.

The fog shrouds this beach scene in a moody quietness that wouldn't be there on a sunny day

The fog shrouds this beach scene in a moody quietness that wouldn’t be there on a sunny day

As I scroll through my photographic archives, I notice that a majority of my images were captured while in one national park or another. I am amazed at the variety and depth of the park system, and I have only visited a small percentage of the 401 nationals. I am thankful that this shutdown does not affect our state and local parks, since I do not know what I would do without at least those connections with our natural world.

In the meantime, enjoy these photos and this virtual visit to parks around the nation, which is my way of celebrating the existence of these wonderful resources.

Valentine's Cave, Lava Tubes National Monument, Ca.

Valentine’s Cave, Lava Tubes National Monument, Ca.

And to the 21,000 national park staff who have been furloughed with out pay, I just want to express my thanks for the hard work that you do protecting and sharing our national heritage. I hope we do not have to be long without your services. You would normally be helping as many as 715,000 of us each day to enjoy our parks. Apparently we can’t do this without you.

I found this trio of otters late one afternoon. Point Reyes National Seashore, Ca.

I found this trio of otters late one afternoon. Point Reyes National Seashore, Ca.

Lava Tubes National Monument, Ca.

Lava Tubes National Monument, Ca.

While I enjoy the texture of sunlight on the dunes, the presun light is also magical at the Eureka Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, Ca.

The Eureka Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, Ca.

Cactus of Death Valley National Park, Ca.

Cactus of Death Valley National Park, Ca.

Raven Tracks in the Eureka Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park

Raven Tracks in the Eureka Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park

Backpacking the rocky slopes of the Stanislaus National Forest, California

The rocky slopes of the Stanislaus National Forest, California

Cooper's Hawk migrating over Hawk Hill in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Cooper’s Hawk migrating over Hawk Hill in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The Wright Brothers' National Monument, NC- the very first powered flight occurred here.

The Wright Brothers’ National Monument, NC- the very first powered flight occurred here.

Low tide in the Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Low tide in the Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Lava Beds National Monument, California

Lava Beds National Monument, California

Red-throated Loon rising up in Tomales Bay, along the shores of the Point Reyes National Seashore, Ca.

Red-throated Loon rising up in Tomales Bay, along the shores of the Point Reyes National Seashore, Ca.

The wild ponies of Shcakleford Bank in the Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina

The wild ponies of Shcakleford Bank in the Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina

Volcano National Park, Hawaii

Volcano National Park, Hawaii

Re-enacting the very first flight of the Wright Brothers at their national monument in Kill Devil Hills, NC

Re-enacting the very first flight of the Wright Brothers at their national monument in Kill Devil Hills, NC

Glacial polish on the granite slopes of the Stanislaus National Forest

Glacial polish on the granite slopes of the Stanislaus National Forest

Schoodic Point in the Acadia National Park

Schoodic Point in the Acadia National Park, Maine

Wildlife of Acadia National Park, Maine

Wildlife of Acadia National Park, Maine

The ancient twisted Mountain Junipers of the Stanislaus National Forest

The ancient twisted Mountain Junipers of the Stanislaus National Forest, California

Bobcat stalking the Shores of the Point Reyes National Seashore

Bobcat stalking the Shores of the Point Reyes National Seashore

About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website- www.galenleeds.net
This entry was posted in My favorite Parks, National Park, nature photography, photography, wildlife photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Remembering old friends: A virtual visit to some of my favorite National Parks

  1. Very sad day for tourists, photographers and naturalists. Probably a happy day for wildlife.

    • I had the same thought about how much most of the wildlife will enjoy their piece and quiet… although I was thinking there will be some squirrels, chipmunks, and crows that will be going a little hungrier without the tourists to throw them treats.

  2. Margaret says:

    Wonderful series. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  3. Lyle Krahn says:

    What a wonderful reminder of the beauty of national parks. I especially like the bobcat and otter photos. I have had the privilege of visiting national parks in your country as well as mine and they truly are national treasures.

    • Thanks Lyle. I’ve only visited a few parks in Canada, but they were all I hoped for and more. I hope to be able to spend more time exploring them in the years to come… and if our parks stay closed much longer, I might just have to escape to yours even sooner than planned.

  4. Holycowgirl says:

    What a wonderful tribute to the land we love. Thank you, Galen Leeds. I’ve been to many but few that you note and it’s heartwarming to see such breathtaking beauty.
    PS During furloughs and government shutdowns (there have been many) the employees are given an IOU and ultimately paid in full including holiday time, weekends, etc. I’m glad a stand was taken to re-establish a 2 party system, we’ll see where it goes. And there’s a splendid story about a group of soldiers who took Omaha Beach — visiting DC today — and found it closed. They stormed the barricades and saw all the memorials. The men who fought for us in WWII, 70 years ago, were boys then.

    • I’ve been to quite a few national parks now, but still they are only a fraction of the 401 that we have. I can’t wait to visit them all some day… and then visit each one in multiple seasons.

      I’m glad those men stormed the barricades. They deserved to explore the country’s heritage.

      It’s too bad it’s only a 2 party system, since neither party truly expresses the views of most of us. We are much more complicated than a left and a right can really express.

  5. janechese says:

    Just how widespread is this shut-down? Great photos.

    • The shut down is nearly complete in the national parks, with barricades being set up to block entrances that don’t have gates. Without employees, there is simply no infrastructure to deal with the maintenance, waste, and medical emergencies that might occur. Most people already within the parks- campers, visitors, etc. were given 24-48 hours notice that they had to vacate.

      • janechese says:

        Wow, and I am hearing how it is affecting others throughout the country-hope it is resolved soon.And very timely posting of the photos, thank you.

  6. Mike Powell says:

    Wonderful shots and a true inspiration to see more of our beautiful country.

  7. David says:

    Gorgeous photos. Hopefully the closure of the parks won’t last much longer.

  8. Emily Heath says:

    Gorgeous, hope the government can reach an agreement soon so you can return to taking beautiful photos. My favourites are the otters and wild ponies.

  9. Interesting! Thanks for another great post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s