|by Robert Firpo-Cappiello||National Parks, Nature Appreciation, Wildlife Appreciation, Helpful Websites, Technology, Family Travel||0|
We've been having a blast checking out the Live "BearCam" at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, Alaska. The live web camera sends streaming video to an ever-growing body of fans who are as ravenous for up-close views of Alaska brown bears (gigantic relatives of the grizzly) as the bears themselves are for the salmon they catch at the falls.
I heartily recommend you check out the "BearCam," at Explore.org, but I can't help but pass on some links to webcams at other national parks that I've come to love. More than any reading material, the images available from these national parks make me want to fill my backpack and hit the trails. Here's a starter kit for anyone interested in diving into as many parks in the shortest possible amount of time.
Glacier National Park provides views of Apgar Lookout, an overview from Apgar Mountain of the North Fork area of the park; Apgar Village, with its visitor center, shops, and restaurants; and my family's favorite, Lake McDonald, which allows you to stand at the pebbled short and look out at the park's highest peaks, which are sometimes reflected in the lake and sometimes shrouded in clouds.
Yellowstone National Park links to a collection of webcams offering a view of Old Faithful Geyser from the new visitor education center, which opened in 2010; a view of the Upper Geyser Basin, including the geyser itself; and Mount Washburn, a view that is used to track fires (this camera is typically turned to a default view at the end of fire season).
Yosemite National Park provides images of a number of the park's most popular sites, including Yosemite Falls, which is actually a combination of three falls (Upper Yosemite Fall, Middle Cascades, and Lower Yosemite Fall); Half Dome, including a view of the Yosemite Valley from nearby Yosemite Village; and Half Dome from 8,000 feet, taking in the High Sierra as well.
Grand Canyon links to just one webcam of the park, which is currently undergoing maintenance, but it's worth checking back for the amazing view when the camera is back online. The camera is meant to provide weather and air quality information, but also serves to whet the appetite of future visitors and to remind former visitors of what makes this place like no other on earth. In addition, the site provides links to live webcams of the San Francisco Peaks and other vistas in nearby Flagstaff, Arizona.
Great Smoky Mountains provides images of iconic spots in this popular park, including a view from Purchase Knob to the northeast; and Look Rock, at the western edge of the park.