3 years, 80,000 miles, 61 national parks

June 4, 2019

Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana (CNN) — There's a sandhill crane nesting in the middle of a patch of restored marsh, the bird's partner calling out as it returns to their nest.

A few hundred feet away, a beaver pops out of its lodge in the middle of the marsh, then dips back under water after spotting human visitors.

Andres Quintero quietly takes pictures of the animal inhabitants of Indiana Dunes National Park, the newest of the US National Park Service's 61 headliner national parks.

As Quintero hikes with a park ranger to the summit of Mount Baldy sand dune, 126 feet high, he is rewarded with a spectacular view of Lake Michigan, the Chicago skyline visible to the northwest and the Northern Indiana Public Service Corp. Power Plant operating to the east.

Click here to read more.

A slew of ravaging hurricanes couldn't knock out these national park treasures

St. Marys, Georgia (CNN) — Before Hurricane Irma ever made landfall at the waterfront town of St. Marys, Georgia, in September, local officials and US National Park Service employees did everything they could to batten down the hatches.

They activated their emergency response plans, working hard to board up mainland structures and the park service's historic structures and treasures 7 nautical miles away on Cumberland Island.

But no human effort could block the power of Irma.

After the hurricane departed, residents saw boats stacked on top of each other or tossed onto the mainland, flooded streets and debris scattered everywhere.

The park service's mainland dock -- where up to 300 passengers daily could catch the ferry to Cumberland Island, the main attraction of Cumberland Island National Seashore -- had been destroyed.

While some tattered parts remained, the accessible dock was at the bottom of the St. Marys River.

To read more about other national parks recovering from the 2017 hurricanes, click here.