Millions of eclipse-chasers can catch the greatest show in the sky from public land

By Trust for Public Land
Published August 14, 2017

Millions of eclipse-chasers can catch the greatest show in the sky from public land

Next week’s total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for people all across the country to stop what they’re doing, step outside, put on some goofy (but very important) safety glasses, and spend a few lingering moments united in wonder.

Millions of people live within the 70-mile-wide, 2,500-mile-long “path of totality”—the thin band where it’s possible to see the sun entirely covered by the moon—and millions more are planning to travel there to catch this phenomenal sight. Whether you find yourself among friends and neighbors at a city park, in a boat on a wild river, or alone on a trail in a national forest, chances are you’ll be catching the show on public land.

Over the years, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 80 places along the path of totality, including these:

Depoe Bay Scenic Park—Depoe Bay, Oregon

Partial eclipse begins: 9:04 a.m.
Totality begins: 10:16 a.m.
Totality lasts: 1 minute, 58 seconds

Perfect for early birds, this small town on the remote Oregon coast will be one of the first places in the country to see the eclipse—that is, if the frequently foggy Northwest skies cooperate. The Trust for Public Land helped the city protect key oceanfront land in the heart of the town for a seaside municipal park—a great spot to get an unobstructed view of the sky as the eclipse begins its journey across the continent.

Teton River Access Park—Driggs, Idaho

Partial eclipse begins: 10:16 a.m.
Totality begins: 11:34 a.m
Totality lasts: 2 minutes, 18 seconds

Eclipse-chasers in southern Idaho have a better chance of clear skies as the moon’s shadow sweeps over the Teton Valley, a high, dry corridor between the jagged Teton Range and the Big Hole Mountains. To watch from the water, launch a canoe from the Teton River Access Park, protected with help from The Trust for Public Land in 2016. Located outside the town of Driggs the park’s clear, mellow waters are popular with anglers looking to cast a lure in the blue-ribbon trout fisheries of the Teton River.

Teton Valley near Driggs, IdahoRocky Mountain residents have their fingers crossed for clear skies on Monday, August 21, as the total solar eclipse sweeps over the Teton Valley. Photo credit: Flickr user Mike Lemmon

Mark Twain National Forest—Columbia, Missouri

Partial eclipse begins: 11:45 a.m.
Totality begins: 1:12 p.m.
Totality lasts: 2 minutes, 37 seconds

To catch the eclipse in southern Missouri, you can take to the trails in the Mark Twain National Forest, in the Ozark Mountains . The Trust for Public Land added 440 acres of woods, streams, and ponds to the national forest just outside the city of Columbia—including a 1.5-mile section of the popular Cedar Creek trail system. Rangers here remind visitors to come prepared with what they need—as local stores may run low on supplies—and, of course, pack out what they pack in.

Rolling Mill Hill—Nashville, Tennessee

Partial eclipse begins: 11:58 a.m.
Totality begins: 1:27 p.m.
Totality lasts: 1 minute, 55 seconds

The brightest stars in the country music universe will be howling at the moon on August 21: Nashville is the largest major metro within the path of the totality. If you find yourself in town for the day, tune into the city’s Total Eclipse Playlist, featuring songs like “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers, “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, and, of course, Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” While you’re singing along, take a walk along the Cumberland River: The Trust for Public Land recently helped the city protect 13 acres along its banks in the lyrically named Rolling Mill Hill neighborhood.

Morris Island—Charleston, South Carolina

Partial eclipse: begins 1:16 p.m.
Totality begins: 2:46 p.m.
Totality lasts: 1 minute, 33 seconds

Wave goodbye to the Great American Eclipse over the Atlantic Ocean from Morris Island, one of the last undeveloped places on South Carolina’s string of barrier islands. Situated at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, the island was the scene of pivotal maritime battles in the Civil War, but until 2006 it was privately owned. The Trust for Public Land helped Charleston residents protect the island, its historic battlegrounds, and the wild and windswept dunes and swamps at the edge of the continent.

A mom and child walk toward the lighthouse on Morris IslandThe historic lighthouse is usually the most interesting thing glowing in the sky over Morris Island, but next Monday, its popularity will be, well, eclipsed.Photo credit: Flickr user Ted Kerwin

What are your plans for watching the eclipse? Head over to Facebook and tell us!

Trust for Public Land

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