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.
Speech: OIA-DOI Museum Brown Bag -- World Heritage: A Made-in-America Achievement
Jonathan B. Tourtellot, Geotourism Editor, National Geographic Traveler; Founding Director, National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations; Principal, Focus on Places LLC
Rachel Carson Room, Stewart Lee Udall Department of Interior Building
In 1972, the United States proposed the World Heritage Convention to the international community as the global expression of the national park idea. The U.S. was the first nation to ratify the Convention. Twenty-one natural or cultural heritage sites in the U.S. are recognized for their outstanding universal value in the Convention's World Heritage List.
In his September 12, 2012 presentation, Jonathan B. Tourtellot explained what the World Heritage Program is, how sites are selected for the List, and why World Heritage listings benefit both the U.S. and its international partners. By promoting “geotourism,” a term Tourtellot has coined to describe sustainable visitation that supports and improves natural and cultural resources, he believes the World Heritage Program can help preserve significant areas throughout the world. In his talk, Tourtellot celebrated the role the United States played in creating this important program, and called for continuing U.S. leadership.