Every April the National Park Service reminds us about the beauty and value of America's national parks. With most parks in the West and elsewhere closed to visitors, what's there to celebrate during this year's National Park Week?
Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, is taking time "to revisit places I have been in the past and explore new places to go."
Shafroth, who once lived in Colorado, has been listening to the sounds of Rocky Mountain National Park posted online. "Most fascinating are the bird calls ... red-wing blackbirds, crows, magpies," he said.
Right now only a handful of national parks are open. So that leaves virtual visits. The national park "week" started April 18 and continues through April 26, scheduled around the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.
The National Park Foundation, which raises money to support national parks, posted a Parks at Home page to encourage people to "travel" to their favorite park through real-time webcams, photo galleries, online tours and recorded soundscapes. There are lots of ways to connect online to the more than 400 national park sites across the country.
Here are some of the best places to visit from home.
--Yosemite, Northern California (closed)
The park closed March 20 but that doesn't mean you can't see what's happening as spring emerges. The park's High Sierra webcam on Monday showed foggy views of Half Dome and snow clinging to high-elevation spots. Instead of taking the park shuttle, just click over to watch real-time webcams of El Capitan and still snowy Badger Pass Ski Area.
Then go to the dark side. Switch over to a curated nighttime tour of Yosemite's starry skies with time-lapse photos over some of the park's landmarks.