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South Fork John Day Wild and Scenic River

Image by BLM Oregon & Washington
Upriver view of the South Fork John Day Wild and Scenic River, June 6, 2017, by Greg Shine, BLM.

Protected as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the South Fork of the John Day River flows from south to north through central Oregon, providing unparalleled recreational opportunities including fishing, swimming, hiking, camping, and birdwatching.

It’s your river. Make your splash!

Originating in the Ochoco and Aldrich Mountains, the South Fork meets the main stem of the John Day River at the town of Dayville, Oregon. The river is nationally known for smallmouth bass and steelhead and is an excellent destination for many outdoor activities. The South Fork John Day River Back Country Byway runs alongside the river and also connects visitors to adjacent areas such as the Black Canyon Wilderness.

Forty-seven miles of the South Fork – from the Malheur National Forest boundary to the confluence with Smoky Creek – were designated as wild and scenic on October 28, 1988, and classified as recreational river areas. This classification includes rivers or sections of rivers that are readily accessible by road or railroad, that may have some development along their shoreline and that may have undergone some impoundment or diversion in the past.

As a national wild and scenic river, the South Fork possesses several resource values considered “outstandingly remarkable,” including botanic, fisheries, geologic, paleontologic, recreational, scenic, and wildlife.

The South Fork of the John Day River corridor contains a number of relatively pristine plant communities and two significant species, the Washington monkeyflower and threatened south John Day milk vetch. The diversity of plant communities provides important wildlife habitat, interpretive opportunities and aesthetic values to the area. Vegetation has been impacted by humans via fire control, road construction, unmanaged livestock grazing. A coordinated multi-agency program is in place to restore the quality of the vegetative communities.

The John Day River hosts one of the few remaining wild fish runs in the Pacific Northwest. The summer steelhead and spring Chinook salmon returning for spawning contribute to the largest entirely wild run in the mid and upper Columbia River Basin; spawning and rearing takes place below Izee Falls. Resident redband trout populations are augmented with hatchery stock, and whitefish are also present and popular.

Geologic & Paleontologic
A complicated geologic history in the area has resulted in a diverse assemblage of rocks that include masses of oceanic crust, marine sediments, a wide variety of volcanic rocks, ancient river and lake sediments, and recent landslide deposits. North of Izee Falls, the Mascall Formation features marine invertebrates, fossiliferous outcrops and fissure dikes. South of the falls, features include ammonites, bivalves and rhyconellid brachiopods.

This river corridor provides a wide variety of recreation opportunities, including camping, boating, hunting and fishing. The river is nationally known for smallmouth bass and steelhead, and popular for floating and swimming, hunting, hiking and camping. Visitors travel here to see the rugged geologic formations of the canyon and internationally significant fossil beds.

The views here are colorful, striking and unique. Basalt outcrops, Ponderosa pine and Douglas and white fir intermix with juniper, sagebrush and native bunchgrasses to create a distinct pattern on the rugged canyon slopes. The river is petite but active, and it flows over 55-foot Izee Falls halfway to the mainstem.

The South Fork is a key wildlife area due to the diversity and condition of the habitats in its corridor. Mature (never been cut) Ponderosa pine and fir forests have provided a stable environment for its diverse, balanced population. Grass and sagebrush hillsides provide forage for big game species and nesting for many migratory and resident bird species. Bald eagles visit in winter; golden eagles, redtail hawks and prairie falcons nest in the canyon. Lewis’ and other woodpeckers, owls and quail nest and feed here. Mule deer and elk winter here, as well. Resident predators include mountain lions and bobcats. Minks, beavers, river otters, coyotes and rattlesnakes are common, as well.

For more information, contact our Prineville District Office:
3050 N.E. 3rd Street
Prineville, OR 97754
Phone: 541-416-6700
Fax: 541-416-6798


Image by Nouhailler
Norway is famous for its fjords, two of which, the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord, feature on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Sognefjord, the longest of them all, and the Hardangerfjord, famed for its cherry and apple trees, are among the most visited.

Northern lights
The Northern lights are a common natural phenomenon in Northern Norway, and are most commonly observed above the Arctic Circle between late autumn and early spring.

Midnight sun
The sun does not set in summer over the Arctic Circle, meaning visitors to Northern Norway enjoy 24 hours of daylight this time of year.

The weather in Norway is much milder than one would expect. Because of the Gulf Stream, temperatures along the coast of Norway are 5-8°C higher than at comparable latitudes elsewhere.

The Vikings have a bad reputation as raiders, but they were also traders, explorers and settlers, and the legacy from the Viking Age (AD 800-1050) lives on.

The Sami people
The Sami are the indigenous people of Norway. Known for their colourful clothes and the huge herds of reindeer they look after, the Sami have been living in northern Scandinavia for over 10,000 years, and today they have their own parliament in Karasjok.

Famous Norwegians
These include explorers Roald Amundsen, Fridtjof Nansen and Thor Heyerdahl, composer Edvard Grieg, violin virtuoso Ole Bull, artist Edvard Munch, playwright Henrik Ibsen, novelist Knut Hamsun, and politician Gro Harlem Brundtland, among many others.

The Royal Family
King Harald V, the King of Norway, and Queen Sonja have two children: a son, Crown Prince Haakon, who is married to Crown Princess Mette-Marit, with whom he has two children and a daughter, Princess Martha Louise, who is married to Ari Mikael Behn.

Trolls are an important part of Norwegian folklore. They vary in size and appearance, but are invariably ugly and messy creatures, and always mischievous (if not downright nasty). They usually live in caves or deep in the forest, and only emerge from their hiding places after sunset – legend has it that they turn to stone upon contact with the sun. Several places in Western and Northern Norway have been named after them, such as Trollheimen, Trollstigen, Trollhatten and Trollveggen.

In Norway everyone has the right of access ("allemannsretten") in the countryside – including the national parks.

Marked trails
Several national parks have arrangements for outdoor activities with a network of marked paths and trails and overnight accommodation in either staffed lodges or self-service cabins.

In vulnerable areas where it is desirable to limit the impact of visitors, paths and accommodation are minimal. General regulations concerning free access and special regulations concerning preservation in the individual parks may limit what is allowed.

Wild reindeer
National parks are particularly important for species that need relatively large and undisturbed areas to survive, such as wild reindeer, predators and birds of prey. Many of these are at great risk from human intervention and some are even threatened with extinction. Norway has an international responsibility to look after endangered species and their habitats.

Nearly 85 per cent of Norway’s national parks are mountains. The mountain landscape varies from endless gently rolling high plateaus to sharp peaks, ravines and glaciers.

Night view from Empire State Building observatory in Manhattan, New York City, United States

Image by dzhingarov
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This is night view from Empire State Building observatory in Manhattan, New York City, United States of America.