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Shenandoah National Park Scenic Vistas

One of the most common visitor activities in our National Parks is viewing or perhaps photographing spectacular scenery. The quality of a scenic vista depends on individual values but is also influenced by landform and use, vegetative cover and condition, as well as air quality. Shenandoah National Park is known internationally for spectacular mountain scenes.

Skyline Drive was constructed in the 1930's as a scenic drive along the crest of the Blue Ridge mountains within Shenandoah National Park. The road was designed and constructed to provide scenic views within the park and into the Piedmont plateau to the east and the Shenandoah Valley to the west. 76 overlooks, or pullouts with parking, were constructed so motorists could stop at intervals along the Drive and enjoy the views.

When first constructed, the overlooks provided unobstructed views but gradually, forest succession resulted in view closure by trees and shrubs. In the 1970s park staff initiated a program to reopen these vistas. Vegetation management continues today at these overlooks to assure the enjoyment of these internationally known vistas.

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Maine Puffins
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Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.