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The Journey
John’s 4 years in the field: An experience through lands
John’s 4 years in the field: 
An experience through lands
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Acadia
NATIONAL PARK, ME
Acadia National Park was established in 1929. Known as the Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, the park has many unique features such as exposed granite domes, glacial erratics, U-shaped valleys, and cobble beaches. Its Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain on the Atlantic Coast.
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Arches
NATIONAL PARK, U
Arches National Park was established in 1929. The park has the densest concentration of natural stone arches in the world. There are over 2,000 documented arches in the park, plus pinnacles, balanced rocks, fins and other unique geologic formations.
2
Badlands
NATIONAL PARK, SD
Badlands National Park was established in 1939. The park contains one of the world’s richest fossil beds, including fossils from horses, rhinos and saber-toothed cats. From tiny shrews to 2,000-pound bison, the Badlands is home to many species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and butterflies.
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Biscayne
NATIONAL PARK, FL
Biscayne National Park was established in 1980. Renowned for its biodiversity, the park is made up of four ecosystems: coastal mangrove hammocks, Biscayne Bay’s shallow lagoon waters, coral limestone keys and the third-largest o!-shore reef in the world. It o!ers some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in North America.
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Big Bend
NATIONAL PARK, TX
Big Bend National Park was established in 1944. Referred to as Texas’ Gift to the Nation, the park is famous for its natural resources and recreational opportunities. Named after a large bend in the Rio Grande/Río Bravo, it is the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the U.S.
4
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
NATIONAL PARK, CO
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was established in 1999. Named after the Gunnison River, the park provides opportunities to see spectacular and important geologic features, including some of the steepest cli!s in North America. It is also home to the fastest bird in the world, the Peregrine falcon.
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Bryce Canyon
NATIONAL PARK, UT
Bryce Canyon National Park was established in 1928. The park is known for its unique geological features, including amphitheaters, canyons, spires, and hoodoos (irregular columns of rock). In fact, it has the largest concentration of hoodoos in the world.
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Canyonlands
NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, UT
Canyonlands National Park was established in 1964. The largest national park in Utah, it’s known for its colorful landscape that has eroded into countless canyons, mesas, arches, and buttes by the Colorado River and its tributaries. It also o!ers some of the best stargazing in the country.
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Capitol Reef
NATIONAL PARK, UT
Capitol Reef National Park was established in 1971. The park is named, and known, for the presence of the Waterpocket Fold. This “wrinkle” in the landscape formed millions of years ago and caused the rocky landscape that inspired the “reef” part of the park’s name.
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Channel Islands
NATIONAL PARK, CA
Channel Islands National Park was established in 1980. The park is known as “The Galapagos of North America” due to being home to over 2,000 plant and animal species, 150 of which can not be found anywhere else in the world. The Channel Islands are also the site of the oldest known human remains in North America.
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Crater Lake
NATIONAL PARK, OR
Crater Lake National Park was established in 1902. Known for its purity, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US, and one of the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.
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Death Valley
NATIONAL PARK, CA
Death Valley National Park was established in 1994. The park is the hottest, driest, and lowest of all the national parks; a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow, while rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers, and lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge. Despite its morbid name, there is actually a great diversity of life in Death Valley.
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Denali
NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, AK
Denali National Park & Preserve was established in 1917. The park is known for its vast wilderness that is mostly untouched by human hands, save for the one park road and a few scattered services. It is known for legendary wildlife and big adventures, from backcountry camping to mountaineering.
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Everglades
NATIONAL PARK, FL
Everglades National Park was established in 1947. The park protects an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther. The park is also the winter home of more than 360 di!erent species of birds.
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Gates of the Arctic
NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, AK
Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve was established in 1980. The park is acknowledged as the premier Wilderness park in the national park system and serves as the headwaters for six Wild Rivers. The vast landscape does not contain any roads or trails, containing only intact ecosystems where people have lived with the land for thousands of years.
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Glacier
NATIONAL PARK, MT
Glacier National Park was established in 1910. Known as a hiker’s paradise, it contains over 700 miles of trails spread out through pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. The most famous of the trails is Goingto- the-Sun Road.
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Glacier Bay
NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, AK
Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve was established in 1980. The park is known for its rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords. It is a highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site, making it one of the world’s largest international protected areas.
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Grand Canyon
NATIONAL PARK, AZ
Grand Canyon National Park was established in 1919. The park is home to much of the immense Grand Canyon; a mile deep, and up to 18 miles wide. The park is considered one of the finest examples of arid-land erosion in the world, with layered bands of colorful rock revealing millions of years of geologic history.
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Grand Teton
NATIONAL PARK, WY
Grand Teton National Park was established in 1929. The park is famous for spectacular mountain scenery and wildlife, as well as its extensive hiking trails, which total more than 235 miles throughout the park.
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Great Basin
NATIONAL PARK, NV
Great Basin National park was established in 1986. Known as a recreationalist’s paradise, the park has spectacular high elevations and mountain terrain, cascading mountain streams, lakes and bristlecone pine trees over 4,000 years old.
20
Great Sand Dunes
NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, CO
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve was founded in 2004. The park contains the tallest dunes in North America, and an incredibly diverse landscape that includes grasslands, wetlands, forests, alpine lakes, and tundra.
21
Guadalupe Mountains
NATIONAL PARK, TX
Guadalupe Mountains National Park was founded in 1972. The park is known for having the four highest peaks in Texas, including Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest. It also has the most extensive Permian fossil reef in the world
22
Haleakala
NATIONAL PARK, HI
Haleakala National Park was established in 1961. The park is a dormant shield volcano with one of the world’s largest volcanic craters. Regarded as a rare and sacred landscape, the park vibrates with stories of ancient and modern Hawaiian culture. The park also contains many endangered species, some of which, such as the Haleakala silversword, exist nowhere else.
23
Hawai’i Volcanoes
NATIONAL PARK, HI
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916. The park protects some of the most unique geological, biological, and cherished cultural landscapes in the world. Extending from sea level to 13,677 feet, the park encompasses the summits of two of the world’s most active volcanoes — Kilauea and Mauna Loa — and is a designated International Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
24
Isle Royale
NATIONAL PARK, MI
Isle Royale National Park was established in 1940. A rugged, isolated island, far from the sights and sounds of civilization, Isle Royale is unique for its unparalleled solitude and potential for adventures. The ecological study of wolves on Isle Royale is the longest running large mammal predator-prey study on earth.
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Joshua Tree
NATIONAL PARK, CA
Joshua Tree National Park was established in 1994. Named for the region’s twisted, bristled Joshua trees, the park is known for its two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado. The land is sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain.
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Katmai
NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, AK
Katmai National Park & Preserve was established in 1918 to protect the volcanically devastated region surrounding Novarupta and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. The park is home to spectacular volcanoes and wildlife, including fish, flowers, and bears.
27
Kenai Fjords
NATIONAL PARK, AK
Kenai Fjords National Park was established in 1978. The park is known for its glaciers and abundant wildlife. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords’ crowning feature.
28
Kings Canyon
NATIONAL PARK, CA
Kings Canyon National Park was established in 1940. The park is home to the largest remaining grove of sequoia trees in the world, including the General Grant tree, the second largest sequoia tree in the world. One of the deepest canyons in the United States, the park also features the graceful peaks of the Sierra Crest.
29
Kobuk Valley
NATIONAL PARK, AK
Kobuk Valley National Park was established in 1980. The park is home to the largest herd of wildlife in Alaska. It is famous for its blu!s, some of which stand more than 150 feet high, which hold permafrost ice wedges and Ice Age mammal fossils. It also has the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, the largest in Alaska.
30
Lake Clark
NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, AK
Lake Clark National Park & Preserve was established in 1980. The park is known for its stunning wilderness: Volcanoes steam, salmon run, bears forage, and craggy mountains reflect in shimmering turquoise lakes. It has been hailed as Alaska’s wildest park.
31
Lassen Volcanic
NATIONAL PARK, CA
Lassen Volcanic National Park was established in 1916. The park is known for its remarkable hydrothermal features, including hissing fumaroles, roaring steam vents, and boiling mud pots. The park contains the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southernmost volcano in the Cascade Range.
32
Mount Rainier
NATIONAL PARK, WA
Mount Rainier National park was established in 1899. Mount Rainier, an active volcano, ascends to 14,410 feet above sea level. The park is known for having the largest alpine glacial system outside of Alaska, and the world’s largest volcanic glacier cave system.
33
North Cascades
NATIONAL PARK, WA
North Cascades National Park was established in 1968. The park is known for its rugged beauty, characterized by jagged peaks, deep forested valleys, cascading waterfalls, and over 300 glaciers — more than any other U.S. park outside of Alaska.
34
Olympic
NATIONAL PARK, WA
Olympic National Park was established in 1938. The park is known for its exceptional natural beauty and outstanding diversity of plants and animals, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rainforests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline.
35
Petrified Forest
NATIONAL PARK, AZ
Petrified Forest National Park was established in 1962. Known as a place for discovery, the park is home to many fossils, especially of fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic Epoch of the Mesozoic era, about 225 million years ago.
36
Rocky Mountain
NATIONAL PARK, AZ
Rocky Mountain National Park was established in 1915. One of the nation’s highest national parks, it is known for its impressive towering landscapes. At an elevation of 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the highest peak in the park.
37
Saguaro
NATIONAL PARK, AZ
Saguaro National Park was established in 1994. The park is known, and named, for its collection of giant saguaro cacti, the universal symbol of the American west. Saguaro is one of the only places to see these majestic cacti.
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Sequoia
NATIONAL PARK, CA
Sequoia National Park was established in 1943. Known as The Land of Giants, the park is known for its dramatic landscape, ranging from deep valleys to the largest remaining grove of sequoia trees in the world.
39
Theodore Roosevelt
NATIONAL PARK, ND
Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in 1978, having originally been a memorial park commemorating President Roosevelt’s history and property in the area. It is the only American national park named directly after a single person and annually hosts over 600,000 visitors. The park’s main attractions include the number of bison, and Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch and Maltese Cross Cabin properties.
40
Virgin Islands
NATIONAL PARK, VI
Virgin Islands National Park was established in 1956, and annually hosts over 110,000 visitors. The park’s main attractions include its beautiful beaches, historic plantation sites, and ancient petroglyphs carved by the Taino Indians.
41
Voyageurs
NATIONAL PARK, MN
Voyageurs National Park was established in 1975 and annually hosts over 200,000 visitors. The park’s main attraction is its outstanding water resources, including the The Kabetogama Peninsula, as it can only be accessed by boat.
42
Wrangell - St. Elias
NATIONAL PARK, AK
St. Elias National Park is America’s largest national park, established in 1978. The park’s main attraction is The Nabesna Glacier, the longest valley glacier in North America and the world’s longest interior valley glacier.
43
Yellowstone
NATIONAL PARK, WY
Yellowstone National Park, with its hydrothermal and geologic wonders, became the first national park in 1872. The park’s main attraction is Old Faithful, a cone geyser with highly unusual consistency, erupting every 44 mins to 2 hours for the last 21 years.
44
Yosemite
NATIONAL PARK, CA
Yosemite National Park was the very first state park to be set aside by the U.S, having been established in 1890. The park’s main attraction is Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in the United States.
45
Zion
NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, UT
Zion National Park is Utah’s oldest national park, having been established in 1919. The park’s main attraction is Zion Canyon, at its south end, which exhibits stunning rock monoliths and eroded canyon walls cut by the Virgin River over time.
46
Aurora Borealis
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the northern lights, one of several astronomical phenomena called polar lights, are shafts or curtains of colored light visible on occasion in the night sky. In Finland the Aurora Borealis, can be viewed on roughly 200 nights a year, in a range of purpose-built spaces from glass igloos to luxury suites.
1
Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon, located in its namesake national park in Arizona, contains some of the oldest exposed rock on Earth. The mile-high walls reveal a cross section of Earth’s crust going back nearly two billion years. These rock layers have given geologists the opportunity to study evolution through time.
2
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea, o! the coast of Queensland, Australia. One of the seven wonders of the natural world, it is the world’s largest coral reef system, and one of the most complex natural ecosystems in the world.
3
Mount Everest
Mount Everest is located in the Mahalangur 64 Himal sub-range of the Himalayas between Nepal and Tibet. It is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, with an elevation of 29,032 ft. Climbing Mount Everest has long been considered one of Earth’s greatest challenges.
4
Parícutin
Parícutin, located in the Mexican state of Michoacán, is a cinder cone volcano that suddenly surged from the cornfield of local farmer Dionisio Pulido in 1943. It is considered one of the natural wonders of the world because mankind witnessed its birth and rapidly growing formation.
5
The Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
Located in Brazil, the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, also known as Guanabara Bay, is recognized as one of the natural wonders of the world because of its massive size. In fact, it contains more water than any other bay in the world. It is perhaps most well known for the 130-foot Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado.
6
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is a waterfall on the Zambezi River that forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls provide habitat for several unique species of plants and animals. It is the largest sheet of falling water in the world, and is nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls.
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A Reconnaissance

Mission

“One of the many goals of A Species Between Worlds,” says Mack, “was to bring back evidence of the current state of our Nature to the general public.” To do so, Mack set off on what he sees as a “reconnaissance mission,” bringing back evidence of some of the world's most iconic, natural sites and their current state of deterioration vis a vis the virtual environment.

“I felt like Atreyu,” says Mack, in reference to the protagonist in Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story, who sets off to combat “The Nothing” devouring the landscape of Fantastica. “There is an energy attempting to conquer the globe, destined to consume our Nature,” continues Mack, “and it was my mission to find out how much time we have left.”

After a four-year journey comprised of flying more than 300,000 air-miles aboard more than 200 flights, driving more than 15,000 miles with the aid of more than 25 car rentals, including hiking more than 220 miles, seven helicopter flights, six seaplane fly-bys, eight grizzly sightings, and one husky sled, Mack delivers the results of his reconnaissance mission in A Species Between Worlds.

“There is still hope,” says Mack. “Look deeply. The light of our Nature is right there.”

46 U.S. National Parks

1. Acadia
2. Arche
3. Badlands
4. Big Bend
5. Biscayne
6. Black Canyon of the Gunnison
7. Bryce Canyon
8. Canyonlands
9. Capitol Reef
10. Channel Islands
11. Crater Lake
12. Death Valley

13. Denali
14. Everglades
15. Gates of the Arctic
16. Glacier
17. Glacier Bay
18. Grand Canyon
19. Grand Teton
20. Great Basin
21. Great Sand Dunes
22. Guadalupe Mountains
23. Haleakala
24. Hawai’i Volcanoes

25. Isle Royale
26. Joshua Tree
27. Katmai
28. Kenai Fjords
29. Kings Canyon
30. Kobuk Valley
31. Lake Clark
32. Lassen Volcanic
33. Mount Rainier
34. North Cascades
35. Olympic

36. Petrified Forest
37. Rocky Mountain
38. Saguaro
39. Sequoia
40. Theodore Roosevelt
41. Virgin Islands
42. Voyageurs
43. Wrangell - St. Elias
44. Yellowstone
45. Yosemite
46. Zion

Click here to go to the National Park Service website and read more about all U.S. Natural Parks.

1. Acadia
2. Arches
3. Badlands
4. Big Bend
5. Biscayne
6. Black Canyon of the Gunnison
7. Bryce Canyon
8. Canyonlands
9. Capitol Reef
10. Channel Islands
11. Crater Lake
12. Death Valley
13. Denali
14. Everglades
15. Gates of the Arctic
16. Glacier
17. Glacier Bay
18. Grand Canyon
19. Grand Teton
20. Great Basin
21. Great Sand Dunes
22. Guadalupe Mountains
23. Haleakala

24. Hawai’i Volcanoes
25. Isle Royale
26. Joshua Tree
27. Katmai
28. Kenai Fjords
29. Kings Canyon
30. Kobuk Valley
31. Lake Clark
32. Lassen Volcanic
33. Mount Rainier
34. North Cascades
35. Olympic
36. Petrified Forest
37. Rocky Mountain
38. Saguaro
39. Sequoia
40. Theodore Roosevelt
41. Virgin Islands
42. Voyageurs
43. Wrangell - St. Elias
44. Yellowstone
45. Yosemite
46. Zion

Click here to go to the National Park Service website and read more about all U.S. Natural Parks.
7 Natural Wonders of the World

1. Aurora Borealis
2. Grand Canyon
3. Great Barrier Reef
4. Mount Everest

5. Parícutin
6. The Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
7. Victoria Falls

John, what was your...

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