Copyright, Randall D. Payne
Badlands National Park

The following images of Alaskan parklands have been extracted from an assortment of Administrative Histories, Historic Resource Studies and other reports covering some of the park units in Alaska.

Interspersed with these photos are U.S. postage stamps which were released by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in 1934. The USPS produced 10 postage stamps depicting scenes from various national parks. The images for these stamps were taken from photographs by noted photographers such as Ansel Adams and the National Park Service's Chief Photographer George Grant.

The photo albums, United States National Parks (2010) and U.S. National Parks Supplement (2012), created by the American Philatelic Society, provide additional information about postage stamps which have been produced for national parks. A Philatelic Portfolio of America's National Parks (©Unicover Corporation, 1972; electronic reproduction permission graciously granted by the Unicover Corporation—all rights reserved), was published and designed for the National Parks Centennial Commission to celebrate the 100th anniversary of creating America's first national park (Yellowstone).

To celebrate the National Park Service Centennial, the U.S. Postal Service released 16 Forever Stamps on June 2nd, 2016. "These stamps celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks and depict the beauty and diversity of these national treasures," said Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan. "They serve as an inspiration for Americans to visit, learn and to write cherished memories of their trips to these incredible wonders." "This set of stamps will take people on a journey to some of the most amazing places in the world," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "We are thrilled that the 16 national park stamps issued in '16 for the centennial depict the variety of parks that collectively tell the story of our country." All 16 of these stamps are shown below (text provided by U.S. Postal Service).

Historical Photos and Art

(U.S. Postal Service)

Denali National Park
Looking up to the head of the east branch of the Teklanika River.

(from The Wolves of Mount McKinley Fauna Series No. 5)

Denali National Park
Dry alpine-arctic ridges such as these are the summer home of Stone's caribou and grizzly bears.

(from Birds and Mammals of Mount McKinley National Park Fauna Series No. 3)

Katmai National Park and Preserve
Kaguyak Crater. Aerial view from the southwest. Beyond the crater rim is Big River and, on the center horizon, Four-peaked Mountain. The lake in the caldera is about 1-3/4 miles long. Cliff on the east (right) rim towers 1,800 feet above the water.

(from A Biological Survey of Katmai National Monument)

(U.S. Postal Service)

Sitka National Historical Park
Frog/Raven totem pole.

(Sitka NHP photo, SITK# 14924, from The Most Striking of Objects: The Totem Poles of Sitka National Historical Park)

A few rugged tourists took pack trips to McGonagall Pass or to the ice formations at Muldrow Glacier. This photo of an Muldrow Glacier ice bridge was taken in 1931.
(J.C. Reed Collection, USGS, from A History of the Denali-Mount McKinley Region, Alaska)

Winter patrols by dog team were regularly conducted in the park by rangers to observe wildlife activities, resource conditions and any indication of illegal hunting activities. This patrol was traveling on the East Fork of the Toklat River in 1929.
(DENA 3880, Denali National Park and Preserve Museum Collection, from Crown Jewel of the North: An Administrative History of Denali National Park and Preserve, Volume 2)

(U.S. Postal Service)

Sea stacks are a common feature along the Kenai Fjords coastline.
(M. Woodbrige Williams, NPS photo, from A Stern and Rock-Bound Coast: Kenai Fjords National Park Historic Resource Study)

Since the 1940s, Brooks Falls has been a famed destination for sport fishermen. This photo was taken in July 1964.
(Ward Wells Collection #4218-30, AMHA from Isolated Paradise: An Administrative History of the Katmai and Aniakchak National Park Units)

Broadway Street, Skagway, looking north from Third Avenue. The photo was taken in 1969, before restoration efforts had commenced by either the private or public sectors.
(Ted Swem Collection, from Legacy of the Gold Rush: An Administrative History of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park)

(U.S. Postal Service)

Broadway, Skagway, Alaska, during the 1990s with a cruise ship in dock.
(Gary Heger and the Alaska Power & Telephone photograph, Klondike Gold Rush NHP D1990-B1-15-6622, from Beneath the Surface: Thirty Years of Historical Archeology in Skagway, Alaska)

The Seacrest at Plateau Glacier, Wachusett Inlet, July 1966. The Seacrest was concessioner's first daily tourboat; it operated between Glacier Bay Lodge and the glaciers from 1966 through the late 1970s.
(Robert Howe Collection, photo GB 280, from Land Reborn: A History of Administration and Visitor Use in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve)

Roy Fures cabin at Bay of Islands.
(NPS-AKSO photo, from Building in an Ashen Land: Historic Resource Study of Katmai National Park and Preserve)

(U.S. Postal Service)

Aerial of the Gates at Aniakchak Caldera, ca. 1996.
(Game McGimsey photo, USGS, Anchorage, from Beyond the Moon Crater Myth, A New History of the Aniakchak Landscape: A Historic Resource Study for Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve)

The outlet of Brooks River into Naknek Lake. Brooks Camp is on the north side of the river in the upper center of the photo, 1972.
(Keith Trexler photo, Alaska Task Force, from A Naknek Chronicle: Ten Thousand Years in a Land of Lakes and Rivers and Mountains and Fire)

Old Savonoski Village Site, 2001.
(NPS photo, from Witness: Firsthand Accounts of the Largest Volcanic Eruption in the Twentieth Century)

(U.S. Postal Service)

Superintendent Grant Pearson at the Pearson cabin in 1954.
(DENA-2355, Denali National Park & Preserve Museum Collection, from Snapshots from the Past: A Roadside History of Denali National Park and Preserve)

The environs of Tuxedni rock shelter.
(NPS photo, from "Where We Found A Whale": A History of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve)

Often, families had few dogs, as the dogs tended to get rabid. Fewer dogs also meant less food was consumed, as the people had to feed the dogs from their own supplies, ca. 1923.
(Edward Keithahn photo, courtesy Richard Keithahn and NPS, neg. 147, from From Hunters to Herders: The Transformation of Earth, Society, and Heaven among the Inupiat of Beringia)

(U.S. Postal Service)

Chief Annahootz of the Wolf House of the Kaagwaantaan clan and the Multiplying Wolf house screen.
(E.W. Merrill photo, Sitka Historical Society, from Early Views: Historical Vignettes of Sitka National Historical Park)

Cutoff Canyon from the rod, White Pass Trail, Alaska, 1898.
(Eric A. Hegg photo, courtesy MSCUA, University of Washington Libraries, neg. Hegg 198, from A Wild Discouraging Mess: The History of the White Pass Unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park)

"Vuew prisé dans la colonie Russe de Novo-Arkhangeisk. (Ile Sitkha.) (Côte N.O. de l'Amerique.)" [View of the Russian colony of Novo-Arkhangelisk, Sitka Island, Northwest Coast of America].
(Lithograph based on a sketch by Friedrich Heinrich von Kittlitz, June/July 1827, from A Construction History of Sitka, Alaska, as Documented in the Records of the Russian-American Company)

(U.S. Postal Service)

Kukak Bay is a glacially carved fjord, characteristic of Katmai National Park and Preserve's southern coastline, 2001.
(Jean Schaaf photo, Lake Clark Katmai Studies Center, Anchorage, from Buried Dreams: The Rise and Fall of a Clam Cannery on the Katmai Coast)

Snug Harbor Cannery, post statehood.
(Dorothy Fribrock photo, from Snug Harbor Cannery, A Beacon on the Forgotton Shore, 1919-1980)

Cinder River.
(Mike Hilton photo, NPS, from Puyulek Pu'irtuq!: The People of the Volcanoes, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve Ethnographic Overview & Assessment)

(U.S. Postal Service)

NPS historic architect James Creech is shown here recording construction details in the ruins of Makaiqtaq Barr's home at Ublasaun, July 1991.
(Jeanne Schaff photo, NPS, from Ublasaun: First Light, Inupiaq Hunters and Herders in the Early Twentieth Century, Northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska)

Takahula Lake
(Robert Belous photo, from Gaunt Beauty...Tenuous Life: Historic Resources Study for Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve)

The Proenneke brother's J3-Piper Cub, the "Arctic Tern," on floats at Proenneke's in 1975 or 1976.
(NPS photo, from More Readings From One Man's Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke, 1974-1980)

(U.S. Postal Service)

Cover of Denali (Mount McKinley) park brochure from 1941.
(NPS photo, from Mount McKinley National Park brochure, 1941)

Lituya Bay and Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
(NPS photo, from Glacier Bay: A Guide to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska, Official National Park Handbook No. 123)

(NPS, from The Alaska Journey: One Hundred and Fifty Years of the Department of the Interior iin Alaska)

NPS Centennial Forever Stamps (U.S. Postal Service)

Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

The stamp image depicting the Bass Harbor Head Light was photographed by David Muench. People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

Arches National Park, Moab, UT

The stamp image is a photograph by Tom Till of Moab, UT, and represents the iconic Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch is just one of more than 2,000 stone arches in a park that contains the greatest density of natural arches in the world. The park is a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures with thousands of natural stone arches, hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

Assateague Island National Seashore, MD and VA

This barrier island is a tale of constant movement and change. Explore sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays. Bands of wild horses freely roam amongst plants and native animals that have adapted to a life of sand, salt and wind.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

Bandelier National Monument, NM

The stamp image is a 1935-1936 pastel-on-paper depiction by Helmuth Naumer, Sr. (1907-1990) of the visitor center in Frijoles Canyon. Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged, beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back more than 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service, Administration Building, Frijoles Canyon Helmuth Naumer Sr. Bandelier National Monument, BAND 1409)

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM

The stamp image is a photograph by Richard McGuire of the interior of the caverns. High ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cacti and desert wildlife are all treasures above and below the Chihuahuan Desert ground. Carlsbad Cavern is one of more than 300 limestone caves in a fossil reef laid down by an inland sea 240 million to 280 million years ago.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

Everglades National Park, FL

The stamp image is a photograph by Paul Marcellini of Miami, FL. Spanning the south Florida peninsula from Miami to Naples and south to the Florida Keys, Everglades National Park's 1.5 million acres of sawgrass prairies, tropical hardwood hammocks, pine rocklands, mangrove forests and marine and estuarine waters provide habitat for a wildlife spectacle like no other. Crocodiles, alligators, manatees, flamingos, herons and turtles are just a small sampling of wildlife that can be seen here.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, AK

The stamp image is a photograph by Tom Bean of Flagstaff, AZ. Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate forests, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a highlight of Alaska's Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site — one of the world's largest international protected areas. From sea to summit, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

The stamp image is a detail of a chromolithograph-on-canvas, "The Grand Canyon of Arizona, from Hermit Rim Road," by artist Thomas Moran (1837-1926). Unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and one mile deep. Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service, The Grand Canyon of Arizona, from Hermit Rim Road [detail] Thomas Moran Grand Canyon National Park, GRCA 134696)

Gulf Islands National Seashore, FL and MS

The stamp image is a photograph of a heron by John Funderburk of Hernando, FL. Whether you visit the seashore for a day or a week there are many activities and places to explore. Each of the seashore's many areas in Florida and Mississippi offer unique experiences.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

Haleakala National Park, HI

Haleakala National Park vibrates with stories of ancient and modern Hawaiian culture and protects the bond between the land and its people. The park also cares for endangered species, some of which exist nowhere else. Come visit this special place — renew your spirit amid stark volcanic landscapes and sub-tropical rain forest with an unforgettable hike through the backcountry.

The photograph is the work of Kevin Ebi, who lives near Seattle, WA. Following is his narrative of capturing the image:

"When you think of Hawaii, you probably imagine continuous summer, warm water and hot beaches. But a couple hours after landing on Maui, I was in the freezing cold, pelted by hail, surrounded by thunderclouds. For a few minutes at a time, the sun would briefly break through it, using rainbows as spotlights to illuminate Haleakala's volcanic cinder cones.

As a nature photographer, I was in heaven — or at least 10,000 feet closer to it.

Whether it's because of the explosive growth of photography, or our need to take a break from our always-on, connected lives, our national parks are busier than ever. But for me, they can still be wondrous places of solitude. Such was the case that afternoon I spent chasing Haleakala's rainbows.

My day started as a scouting trip. Haleakala is known for stunning sunrises. Getting that sunrise would require me to arrive at my shooting location while it was still dark. I decided to take a look at the crater during the day in order to determine where I wanted to be the next morning.

But the closer I got to Haleakala's summit, the less I could see. The fog got thicker and thicker. Then there was heavy rain. Then the rain turned to hail. I sprinted from the car into the visitor center, hoping to catch a bit of the view through the window. All I could make out was the railing of the viewing platform.

It quickly became clear that the storm wouldn't stop. The few visitors in the center sprinted to their cars. I decided to stay put.

Then something amazing happened. The hail turned into a light drizzle. Sunlight poked through a tiny hole in the ominous cloud. And a rainbow dipped into the crater.

I managed to get a few shots before the sun slid back behind the storm clouds and the pelting hail resumed. It was a beautiful scene. Much of Haleakala's beauty comes from its rainbow-colored rocks. The rainbow in the sky complemented that nicely.

But I hoped for better placement of the rainbow. In those first images it was off to the side of the crater. I knew that as the sun moved across the sky, weather permitting, rainbows later in the day would land closer to a core group of cinder cones that I found especially attractive. And so I waited.

During the hour and a half I spent on the rim, the storm gave me just six opportunities to photograph rainbows. My favorite image — and the one that is used on the stamp — was taken during the next-to-last 'window.' It was also the briefest opportunity. I was able to shoot only a single frame before the rainbow vanished.

Back in the car, with the heat and the de-fogger set on high, I was thankful for the experience even though I was soaked. In all of my work as a photographer, I treasure most the images that show nature at its dynamic finest. Braving an intense hailstorm is just part of the experience — a key part of the experience.

National parks take us into a different world, a world of jaw-dropping scenery and experiences that are dramatically different from our daily lives. This image of Haleakala is both to me. And it's why I'm so honored that it will help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service."
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, DC

The stamp image was photographed by Cindy Dyerof Alexandria, VA, who also provided the images from Kenilworth for the Water Lilies Forever Stamps issued last year.

The water lilies are a sample of the hidden treasures tucked away in this time capsule surrounded by urban neighborhoods in our nation's capital. The original water lilies were planted by a Civil War veteran who bought the 30-acre parcel in the 1880s. The park's wetlands also provide habitat for many animals including fox, mink and otter.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

The stamp image is an iconic Hudson River School of Art landscape painting linked to the Conservation Movement that supported interest in creating the National Park system.

"This stamp exemplifies how our national park treasures extend beyond stunning vistas, wildlife, flora and fauna," said Stephanie Toothman, Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science, National Park Service. "Albert Bierstadt's painting represents the convergence of artistic, literary and political attention toward America's scenic beauty in the 19th century, which helped establish conservation as a national value and laid the foundation for the first national parks a century ago."

The stamp image is a detail of Bierstadt's (1830-1902) 29-by-43-inch oil-on-canvas painting "Scenery in the Grand Tetons." The permanent home of the painting is Laurance Rockefeller's study in the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion. The stamp image, available for media use only, requires the following credit: Scenery in the Grand Tetons [detail] Albert Bierstadt, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, MABI 2843

The Conservation Movement and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (NHP)
The fine art collection at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is one of the gems of the National Park Service and includes 500 nature and landscape paintings, many by artists associated with the Hudson River School. The collection also includes folk art, modern art, portraits and sculpture.

According to the National Park Service, Rockefeller acquired the painting in the 1960s and added it to the collection of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion as "a reminder of his family's long loyalty to Grand Teton National Park, and the preservation of the mountains, lake and valley in that spectacularly beautiful and dramatic part of the West."

The Hudson River School Art Movement
During the 19th century, the artists of a young America searched for a new world view and found it in the very landscapes around them. Inspired by the stunning natural beauty from across the nation, the loose-knit Hudson River School of painters flourished from the mid-1830s to the mid-1870s and gave America its first major school of art.

According to the National Park Service, "Their landscapes sought to recreate the majesty of the natural world and to inspire admiration for its beauty." Americans who bought their paintings and admired them on the walls of their city homes came to believe that those scenes should be preserved for future generations, not just painted or photographed.

At the same time, the works of authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson also celebrated the beauty and importance of nature.

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park
The name of the park honors three individuals and their families who played important roles in American conservation history: George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882), Frederick Billings (1823-1890) and Laurance S. Rockefeller (1910-2004).

The lives and contributions of these three generations of stewardship reflect the wide range of attitudes and ideas in the evolution of the conservation movement in the United States. The site was the boyhood home of G. P. Marsh, one of America's first conservationists, whose 1864 book, Man and Nature, decried the effects of deforestation in Vermont and around the world and provided the intellectual underpinnings of the early conservation movement.

Later, it was the home of Billings, who returned to his native Vermont from California, transformed the property into a progressive farm and country estate, and reforested much of the land around the Mansion. Its most recent owners, Billings' granddaughter Mary Rockefeller and her husband Laurance Rockefeller, gave the property and its collections to the American people, the latest in a long history of support for National Parks by the Rockefeller family. Rockefeller received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1991 for his contributions to conservation and historic preservation.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service, Scenery in the Grand Tetons [detail] Albert Bierstadt, Marsh - Billings - Rockefeller National Historical Park, MABI 2843)

Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States, spawning six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier's lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park's ecosystems. A lifetime of discovery awaits.

Creating the Star Trail Photo
The stamp image is the creation of Matt Dieterich of Pittsburgh, PA. "This night was one I will never forget," said Dieterich, who worked at Mount Rainier as an intern with the National Park Service Geoscientist-in-the-Parks to educate the public on dramatic views of the stars and the effect of light pollution near highly populated areas. "After working with visitors at the Mount Rainier astronomy program on June 22, 2015, I noticed there was an aurora, so I drove down to Reflection Lake to capture it."

"The location was perfect as it contained a view of Mount Rainier and water for reflections," he continued. "To create this star trails image I took 200 photos in a two-hour window between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. with my Nikon D750 and 24mm lens set at F/1.4 and ISO 5000. Since the Earth is rotating, each 8-sec. exposure shows stars at slightly different locations. When the photos are combined into one image the stars create a circular pattern around the North Star, which is just out of view at the top of the image. The pink aurora spread throughout the background sky. Mountaineers can be seen with their white headlamps climbing Mount Rainier on the right side of the volcano."

"To capture star trails photos just like this," he added, "all you need is a digital single lens reflex camera, a wide angle lens, tripod and shutter release cable. So what are you waiting for? Grab your gear and get out under the stars!"
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, CA

The Balclutha, an iconic three-masted sailing ship, is a portion of a photograph by Tim Campbell of San Francisco, CA. Just visible to the right of the deep waterman/salmon packet sailing vessel is the 1907 steam tugboat Hercules.

Located near the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park offers the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history through five National Historic Landmark vessels berthed here.
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service, Balclutha, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park)

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND

A photograph of the Little Missouri River winding through the Badlands of North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park was taken in July 2013 by Q.T. Luong of San Jose, CA, who captured the image in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the course of his 20-year project to photograph 59 national parks.

According to the National Park Service, when Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a "skinny, young, spectacled New Yorker." He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life he experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park contains several sites of historical significance, each relating to the era of cattle ranching in the late 1800s. Most significant is Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch Site, the main ranch site where he spent the bulk of his time and where many of his conservation ideas grew. Roosevelt's first ranch home, the Maltease Cross Cabin, is open for viewing at the South Unit Visitor Center.

The Long X Trail was used as a corridor to move cattle into the Northern Great Plains in the 1800s, and it passes through the North Unit of the park. Peaceful Valley Ranchwas built in the 1880s and served as a dude ranch from 1918 to the 1930s. The ranch and its owners assisted in the establishment of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Visitors can still ride horses at Peaceful Valley by taking part in a trail ride with the park's concessionaire.

The Backstory of Luong's Photograph
Luong was interested in the park's rugged character and vegetation that set it apart from South Dakota's Badlands National Park.

"The light of the late afternoon gleaming on the river appeared as a bright ribbon in the landscape," recounted Luong, who used a telephoto lens to emphasize the section of the river with the reflection.

Luong noted that the park includes three units: the South Unit and the far lesser visited North Unit and Elkhorn Ranch Site.

"The Little Missouri River provides a link between them, reminding me of the fond memories I cherish from the time I spent there."

Born in Paris, France, Luong trained as a computer scientist. When he came to the United States for what was intended to be a short academic stay, he chose the University of California at Berkeley because of its proximity to Yosemite and his passion for rock-climbing — where he scaled El Capitan several times.

"Upon visiting Yosemite for the first time in 1993, it was love at first sight and it marked the start of my 20-year affair with the national parks. I decided to photograph all of them with a 5 by 7 large format camera, a single-handed, self-financed, monumental project which, as far as I know, had not been completed by anyone before."

Luong settled in the San Francisco Bay area and started crisscrossing the nation to capture its diverse beauty. By 2002, he had visited 58 national parks. He subsequently left his scientific career to pursue his calling of working as a full-time photographer. In 2009, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan featured him in the film "The National Parks: America's Best Idea."
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

Yellowstone National Park, ID, MT and WY

A stunning photograph of two bison silhouetted in Yellowstone National Park's winter morning sun was captured by Art Wolfe of Seattle, WA, who described it as, "perfectly backlit bison standing on a small rise in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley."

"Rising at dawn and braving the -30°F temperature I was able to catch the first rays of the morning sun," he explained. "The bitter cold of a long winter's night had left the animals encased in a mantle of thick frost. I had scouted the area the day before and had seen the herd of bison. They had bedded down there all night and now were standing and trying to shake off the cold as the sun came over the horizon. These are the serendipitous moments I wait for as a photographer. I shot this in the days of film, so I didn't know until I got back to Seattle and had the film processed if I had been successful or not."

Wolfe got the February 2000 shot using a Canon EOS-3, EF70-200mm lens set at f/16 for 1/250 sec. using Fujichrome Velvia film.

Marvel. Explore. Discover. Visit Yellowstone and experience the world's first national park. Marvel at a volcano's hidden power rising up in colorful hot springs, mud pots and geysers. Explore mountains, forests and lakes to watch wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold. Discover the history that led to the conservation of our national treasures "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people."
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service)

National Parks Forever Stamps
100th Anniversary of the National Park Service

The June 2 first-day-of-issue ceremony took place at New York City's Jacob Javits Center as part of World Stamp Show-NY 2016, the world's largest stamp show that takes place in the United States once a decade. Dedication ceremonies also took place at or near each of the national parks associated with the stamps.

Designing the National Parks Stamp Pane
The National Park System consists of more than 400 park sites. The stamp pane, designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, includes 16 stamp images featuring existing art or photography representing the regional diversity of the National Park System. All stamps show national parks or plants, animals, artwork, objects and structures found in or associated with a national park. Small type on the margin of each stamp indicates the park's location.

Kessler arranged the stamps to approximate their locations around America: Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve on the upper left; Maine's Acadia National Park on the upper right; Hawaii's Haleakala National Park on the bottom left; and Florida's and Mississippi's Gulf Islands National Seashore on the bottom right.

Top Row

The top row includes four stamps. The first features a photograph by Tom Bean of Flagstaff, AZ, of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The second features a photograph by Matt Dieterich of Pittsburgh, PA, of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State (see his time lapse video). The third shows a detail from the oil-on-canvas painting "Scenery in the Grand Tetons" by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), currently held at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont. The fourth is a photograph by David Muench of Goleta, CA, of Bass Harbor Head Light at Acadia National Park in Maine.

Second Row
The second row from the top includes two stamps, one on either side of the central selvage image. The stamp on the left features a detail of a chromolithograph-on-canvas, "The Grand Canyon of Arizona, from Hermit Rim Road" by artist Thomas Moran (1837-1926) from the collection of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. The stamp on the right features a photograph by Tim Fitzharris of Fayetteville, AR, of wild horses at Assateague Island National Seashore, located in Maryland and Virginia.

Third Row
The third row from the top includes four stamps, two on either side of the central selvage image. The first stamp on the left features a detail of a photograph by Tim Campbell of Balclutha, a ship at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The second stamp on the left shows a photograph by Tom Till of Moab, UT, taken at Arches National Park in Utah. The first stamp on the right features a photograph by QT Luong of San Jose, CA, of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. In 2009, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan featured Roosevelt in the film "The National Parks: America's Best Idea." The second stamp on the right shows a photograph by Cindy Dyer of Alexandria, VA, taken at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC.

Fourth Row
The fourth row from the top includes two stamps, one on either side of the central selvage image. The stamp on the left features a 1935-1936 pastel-on-paper depiction by Helmuth Naumer, Sr. (1907-1990) of the Revival-style visitor center at Frijoles Canyon at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. The stamp on the right features a photograph by Paul Marcellini of Miami, FL, of Everglades National Park in Florida.

Fifth Row
The fifth and bottom row of the pane includes four stamps. The first features a photograph by Kevin Ebi who lives near Seattle, WA, of Haleakala National Park in Hawaii. The second shows a photograph by Art Wolfe of Seattle, WA, of bison at Yellowstone National Park, located in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The third stamp shows a photograph by Richard McGuire of Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. The fourth stamp features a photograph by John Funderburk of Hernando, FL, of a heron at Gulf Islands National Seashore, located in Florida and Mississippi.

Center Image
The image in the center is a detail of artwork from the 1-cent Yosemite stamp issued in 1934, rendered here in light brown. Text superimposed over the center image reads: "Our national parks tell distinctly American stories. Whether they inspire you to marvel at grand vistas, travel along scenic waterways and winding paths, or visit historic buildings and homes, discovery and exploration await." A banner across the top of the pane reads "NATIONAL PARKS."

Text on the back of the stamp pane (verso text)
In the 100 years since its creation in 1916, the National Park Service has been the steward of an ongoing story that every American continues to write.

Our first national park — as well as the world's — was established with the creation of Yellowstone in 1872, and Americans have long envisioned parks as places of wild wonders and breathtaking views. Those "crown jewels" will always be iconic American landscapes, but our park system is now even more remarkable for its breadth. Parkways, monuments, seashores, scenic rivers, urban parks, recreation areas, historic buildings and homes — our park system encompasses all of these and more. Parks also offer American history on a human scale, interpreting and making accessible such complex events as the Civil War and the civil rights movement, and they preserve irreplaceable resources for future study and enjoyment, from ancient fossils and fragile ecosystems to an amazing array of artifacts and art.

Each year, millions of people seek out the more than 400 sites in the national park system, where they find endless opportunities for adventure, education, and fun. With the enthusiastic support of visitors, our parks will continue to delight and inspire all Americans and impart a profound legacy for generations to come.

Four of the images on these stamps were provided by the National Park Service and represent just a glimpse of their priceless holdings. The oil-on-canvas painting Scenery in the Grand Tetons by Albert Bierstadt (detail; first row, second from right) is in the collection of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. The chromolithograph-on-canvas Grand Canyon of Arizona, from Hermit Rim Road by Thomas Moran (detail; second row, left) is in the collection of Grand Canyon National Park. The three-masted, steel-hulled, square-rigged Balclutha (third row, first from left) is a familiar sight at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The pastel-on-paper Administration Building, Frijoles Canyon (fourth row, left) by Helmuth Naumer Sr., is in the collection of Bandelier National Monument. The image at the center is a detail of the 1-cent Yosemite stamp issued in 1934, rendered here in light brown. The other images on these stamps are the work of independent photographers — evidence of the vast artistic inspiration our national parks can provide. (End of verso text.)
(©2016 U.S. Postal Service, Yosemite National Park (illustration); U.S. 1¢ postage [detail] 1934)