For the more information about the air resources of the National Park Service, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/.
Three New National Natural Landmarks Designated in 2012
The year 2012, which marks the 50th Anniversary of the National Natural Landmarks (NNL) Program, has added three new outstanding natural areas to the list of designated NNL sites. This brings the total number of NNLs across the country and American Territories to 594.
Lake Shasta Caverns, California and Ice Mountain, West Virginia were designated by Secretary Salazar in May and Big Spring Creek, Colorado was given this distinction in October. NNL designation herald�s the significant natural features at these sites and creates a partnership for conservation between the National Park Service (NPS) and the site landowners.
Lake Shasta Caverns is a privately-owned solution cave located in Lakehead, CA. The caverns contain an especially diverse assemblage of calcite cave formations ranging from millimeters to tens of meters. The formations include all the common and many of the more scarce types of cave formations found in solution caves worldwide. The site is open to the public for educational tours.
Ice Mountain, located in the central Appalachians of eastern West Virginia, gets its name from the refrigeration effect that takes place inside its talus — a sloping mass of boulders at the foot of a mountain. In cooler months, dense, cold air sinks deep into the talus, and ice masses form. As the weather warms, the cooler air flows out of vents among the rocks at the bottom of the slope. As a result, the site supports many species normally found in much colder regions. The site is owned by The Nature Conservancy and provides guided hiking opportunities for the public.
Big Spring Creek is located in the western portion of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve approximately 30 miles north of Alamosa, CO. Big Spring Creek is an example of a perennial, spring-fed creek that flows through a sparsely-vegetated, stabilized eolian sand sheet. Along its course, Big Spring Creek, which maintains a natural flow pattern, supports an aquatic dependent wetland ecosystem in an otherwise arid landscape. The meandering creek and surrounding eolian landforms provide an excellent example of natural geologic and hydrologic patterns. NPS Ranger-guided tours of the area are available to the public.
The NNL Program is the only natural areas program of national scope to encourage the preservation of the best remaining examples of the nation�s biological and geological features in both public and private ownership. The federal designation imposes no new land use restrictions that were not in effect prior to designation.
Last Updated: October 24, 2012