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(2018 - Spring/Summer Issue)


Connecting with America’s wild places is a great way to reduce stress and increase fitness in breathtaking settings. We’ve scoured the USA, from the wetlands of Florida to the volcanoes of Hawaii for ways (some unexpected) to explore a few of America’s wilderness ecosystems.

Everglades National Park encompasses an expansive area of wetlands in south Florida. The 6,070-square-kilometre park protects an International Biosphere Reserve that is home to rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile and the elusive Florida panther. nps.gov/ever

Everyone knows Arizona’s Grand Canyon, but few have trekked off the beaten path to Chiricahua National Monument in the southeast corner of the state. The mountains and fantastic rock formations—nicknamed “wonderland of rocks”—were created millions of years ago when gigantic volcanic eruptions covered the area in compacted ash, which was lifted by forces and sculpted by wind and water. The result is an unearthly scene of balanced rocks, columns and pinnacles that stand as monuments to the power of nature. nps.gov/chir

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in southeast Colorado is where to experience the tallest sand dunes in North America. The park includes a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, forests, alpine lakes and tundra, along with the massive Sahara-like sandscape. It’s ideal for adventure travellers who want to hike up the dunes and sandboard down them on rented boards. nps.gov/grsa

Just south of Minneapolis, the 57-square-kilometre Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge provides a habitat for a large number of migratory waterfowl, fish and other wildlife species, as well as wildlife recreational opportunities and interpretive programming for visitors. Here, coyotes, bald eagles, fish and birds of all kinds thrive next door to a major city centre. Visitors can enjoy birding, hiking, hunting, fishing and photography. fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley

North Carolina’s Linville Gorge Wilderness Area—part of Pisgah National Forest—has been called the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Its steep walls descend to the Linville River, enclosing a vast playground for hikers, rock climbers and mountain bikers. The wildlife population includes bears, foxes, deer, raccoons and birdlife. blueridgetravelers.com

Haleakala National Park—on the Hawaiian island of Maui—has a cinder desert landscape that is otherworldly. Visitors are drawn to the thin air elevation to see the massive crater summit of the world’s largest dormant volcano. Much of the park’s protected fragile flora and fauna is found nowhere else on Earth. Haleakala’s clean air makes it one of the best astronomical viewing locations on the planet. nps.gov/hale

Canyonlands National Park in Utah is what writer and environmentalist Edward Abbey called the “most arid, most hostile, most lonesome, most grim, bleak, barren, desolate and savage quarter of the state of Utah—the best part by far.” The park protects a timeless vista of cliffs and canyons formed in what was an ancient seabed by the ongoing force of erosion. This is a red rock wilderness, weathered and fractured into dramatic fins, needles and arches. nps.gov/cany

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