Are american national parks rewarding??... I mean ..the density and variety of wildlife. ..and is it easier to spot the animals?? Really wish to visit yellowstone. .
One reason Americans are so enamored with parks in other countries is the accessibility of wildlife sightings compared to opportunities at home. Though breath-taking scenic landscapes abound.
Easier to spot animals?
You would be well rewarded in Yellowstone. Bears (brown and black), buffalo, wolves (especially Lamar Valley), moose, elk, coyotes, mule deer are all likely to be spotted. Before Memorial Day weekend (last Mon in May) and after Labor Day Weekend (first Mon in Sept) help thin out the crowds. I'd like to do a winter trip to Yellowstone for wolves and some of the hoofed species.
Alaska has exceptional abundance. I see Katami is mentioned in some of the listings above. Brown bear (grizzlies) are virtually guaranteed in Katmai, with quality sightings. Denali has abundance too, including caribou herds. One place in Alaska that I was especially impressed with for viewing coastal wildlife was Kodiak. The whales and puffins were excellent, seen by boat or kayak. Alaska is a very expensive place to visit, though.
In South Dakota, Custer State Park is at least as easy as Yellowstone to see buffalo, plus pronghorn.
One of my favorite parks in the US is in North Dakota--Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Buffalo and feral horses roam through fantastic scenery.
Don't forget the Everglades in Florida. I have not been there in many years and I know invasives have done a lot of harm, especially the pythons that have been let loose. But as an eco-system, it is unique in the world. Alligators and birds are easily seen.
In Manitoba, Canada (I know it is not the US but it is "relatively close" and has two really different species to check out) are 2 interesting and very different creatures. The Narcisse Snake Dens 2 hours north of Winnipeg have the largest aggregation of snakes in the world, especially right at this time of year--last week of April and first 2 weeks of May. When the sun comes out, these are easy to see, all 5000 or many more of them. Further north in Churchill from mid-Oct to about mid-Nov are the polar bears on the shore of Hudson Bay. As long as you get there before the bay freezes over, usually just before mid-Nov, the bears are easy to see by tundra buggy. I have a return to Churchill at the end of Oct.
Here's a spot that is not that well known that I've visited numerous times: Vince Shute Black Bear Sanctuary in Orr, Minnesota.
A brief history:
Half a century ago the location of this sanctuary was a logging camp and sometimes the bears would break into the food storages. When that happened, the bears would be shot and killed. Vince Shute and some of the lumberjacks
came up with the idea of putting out food for the bears (they eat anything) so they would leave the food storage areas alone. It worked.
When logging activities ceased on the property, Vince Shute bought the acres and continued to supplement the bears’ diets. Vince Shute is no longer alive but the bears he grew to love and their offspring continue to roam at will in
and out of the unfenced sanctuary.
When food is plentiful, fewer bears show up; in leaner years, more bears do. Feeding bears is generally not a good idea but generations of bears have come to incorporate the food from the sanctuary into their foraging routine.
The bears know they are not harassed on the Vince Shute grounds but these same bears can expect negative conditioning by the sanctuary staff when outside the boundaries. Bears are smart creatures and have figured this out,
passing on that knowledge to their young.
Edited by Atravelynn, 10 May 2015 - 06:22 PM.