Great Plains

Below Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, the world’s fourth-longest cave system extends in a maze of passageways filled with boxwork, frostwork and popcorn formations that occupy more than 135 miles. Above ground, a sea of grass gives way to vanilla-scented ponderosa pines.

Great Plains
Black-Footed Ferret
Mustela nigripes
The Black-footed Ferret, also known as the American polecat or Prairie Dog Hunter, is a species of Mustelid native to central North America. It is listed as endangered by the IUCN, because of its very small and restricted populations.

Midwest

Near the tip of the “little finger” on the Michigan mitt, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers sweeping views of Lake Michigan, the famous Dune Climb and nesting sites for the endangered Great Lakes population of piping plovers. At the southern tip of Lake Michigan, prickly pear cactuses grow beside Arctic bearberry along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Midwest
Karner Blue Butterfly
Lycaeides melissa samuelis
The Karner Blue is a small, blue butterfly found in small areas of New Jersey, the Great Lakes region, southern New Hampshire, and the Capital District region of New York. The butterfly, whose lifecycle depends on the wild blue lupine flower, is classified as an endangered species.

Northeast

Positioned along the Atlantic migratory flyway, Fire Island National Seashore is prime birding territory in the spring and fall along the 32-mile-long barrier island. The piping plover and the endangered roseate tern breed here every year.

Northeast
Piping Plover
Charadrius melodus
The Piping Plover is a small sand-colored, sparrow-sized shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches in North America.

Northwest

In Washington, the largest unmanaged herd of Roosevelt elk in the nation roams the impossibly green Hoh and Quinault rain forests of Olympic National Park, where annual precipitation can be 12 to 14 feet. Record-setting Sitka spruce and western red cedar are standouts in a forest of giants; when toppled, they can be swept out to sea along the peninsula’s 10 major rivers and then washed ashore as gargantuan pieces of driftwood.

Northwest
Chinook Salmon
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
The Chinook salmon is the largest species in the pacific salmon family. Chinook are an anadromous fish native to the north Pacific Ocean and the river systems of western North America ranging from California to Alaska.
Northwest
Orca (Killer Whale)
Orcinus orca
The killer whale, commonly referred to as the orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas.

Rocky Mountains

With its million-plus acres of nearly pristine wilderness, Glacier National Park is a haven for grazing ungulates: moose and elk, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Rarely seen gray wolves furtively hunt their prey. Tourists have a better chance of spotting one of the park’s roughly 300 grizzly bears from the Many Glacier Valley or Logan Pass trails.

Rocky Mountains
Grizzly Bear
Ursus arctos horribilis
The grizzly bear is a subspecies of brown bear that generally lives in the uplands of western North America. This subspecies is thought to descend from Ussuri brown bears which crossed to Alaska from eastern Russia 100,000 years ago, though they did not move south until 13,000 years ago.

Southeast

Everglades National Park, the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the United States, is actually a patchwork of habitats extending from the outskirts of suburban Miami to Florida’s Gulf Coast. With a half-million acres underwater, the park claims the biggest protected mangrove forest in the Western Hemisphere. Combining history with wildlife, the Natchez Trace National Parkway wends its way across 444 miles and three state lines: an 800-foot-wide ribbon of green with a roadway running through it from the foothills of the Appalachians in Tennessee to the bluffs of Natchez, Miss.

Southeast
American Crocodile
Crocodylus acutus
The American crocodile is a species of crocodilian found in the Neotropics. It is the most widespread of the four extant species of crocodiles from the Americas.
Southeast
Florida Manatee
Trichechus manatus
The West Indian Manatee is a manatee, and the largest surviving member of the aquatic mammal order Sirenia (which also includes the Dugong and the extinct Steller's Sea Cow).
Southeast
Florida Panther
Puma concolor
The Florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar that lives in forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States. Its current taxonomic status is unresolved, but recent genetic research alone does not alter the legal conservation status.
Southeast
Ringed Map Turtle
Graptemys oculifera
The ringed map turtle or ringed sawback is a species of turtle in the Emydidae family. It is endemic to the Pearl River in the United States. It shares this range with the Pearl river map turtle.
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