Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
DOI-ITAP has provided technical assistance in support of the Environmental Cooperation Agreement under the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement in a number of areas:
Sustainable Tourism Development
The Moroccan government is keen to develop its tourism industry as a way to stimulate economic growth and provide economic livelihoods for its people. The flora, fauna, geology, scenery, folklore, production of local specialties such as argan oil and honey, and delicious cuisine are all attractions for visitors to rural areas. It is important to manage Morocco's natural and cultural resources in a way that minimizes socio-cultural and environmental impacts to maintain a high quality visitor experience. At the same time, tourists need information about the people and places they are visiting, and infrastructure to facilitate sightseeing and recreation. DOI-ITAP works with key government and civil society partners to promote eco-friendly tourism practices and to promote Morocco's unique national parks as a base for sustainable tourism activities.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is a key tool used by nations to protect their biodiversity resources through the regulation of trade in endangered species. DOI-ITAP is working with the Government of Morocco to build their capacity to fully implement CITES and to take other measures to protect their unique resources.
Funding: US Department of State
Oman - Active
Sustainable Tourism Development
Oman is home to a diverse wealth of natural resources, including globally significant populations of endangered sea turtles. Oman's Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA), working with local communities, is in the process of identifying and establishing some 50 new nature reserves throughout Oman. The capacity to manage these protected areas needs to be developed, particularly against the backdrop of increasing tourism. DOI-ITAP works with MECA and other Omani agencies to strengthen Oman's ability to meet these challenges under the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement.
Funding: US State Department
Jordan - Concluded
The Jordan Parks Project is a five-year DOI-ITAP program that builds on 40 years of collaboration between USAID, DOI (and its component bureaus including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Petra Archeological Park and wildlife reserves throughout Jordan. Because Petra, a World Heritage site, was recently named one of the 'New Seven Wonders of the World', tourism to Jordan has increased significantly.
The primary goal of the partnership is to strengthen the capacity of cultural and environmental tourism sites to enhance the visitor experience while assuring that the existing environmental, natural, and cultural resources are protected. The partnership accomplishes this goal by providing:
On-site training courses in Jordan by DOI protected areas managers and law-enforcement officers
One-on-one technical assistance on specific subjects
Visits by Jordanians to relevant U.S. sites and training facilities