As a wildlife photographer, I have the immense privilege of traversing many of our country’s incredible public lands in search of captivating images of wildlife and nature. Our national parks, forests, monuments, wildlife refuges and other public spaces are such precious resources, protecting our natural heritage while providing opportunities for exploration, recreation and connection with the great outdoors.
That’s why I’m excited to share that today, September 23rd, is National Public Lands Day – a celebration of the outdoor spaces that belong to all Americans. I will be spending this day at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This 20,000 acre refuge protects critical wetland habitat along the Arkansas and Canadian Rivers and is home to over 240 species of birds along with many types of fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. I’ll spend my day photographing the wildlife and scenery in this special place that provides an oasis for migratory birds and a chance to observe elusive wetland species.
The best part of National Public Lands Day is that admission to any national public land is completely free today. That means you can get out into these spaces and join in the celebration too, even if you don’t usually have the means. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to connect with nature and each other in our shared public spaces today.
As you explore your public lands, remember to leave no trace, stay on designated trails, and be respectful of the wildlife, resources and other visitors you encounter. With over 640 million acres of public lands across the country, there are endless adventures to be had – on National Public Lands Day and every day. Our public lands are American treasures that I feel so fortunate to experience through my photography. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating them today!
Let me know in the comments if you get out to enjoy a public land today, and feel free to share your photos! I’d love to see how you’re celebrating National Public Lands Day.
Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer