A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Secretary Salazar Meets with Palau President Toribiong
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today met with the new President of Palau Johnson Toribiong at the Department the Interior. This is President Toribiong's first official visit to Washington, D.C. since he was inaugurated on January 15th.
At the meeting today, President Toribiong and the Secretary discussed the Compact of Free Association between the U.S. Government and Palau, the financial provisions of which are scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2009. Upon emerging from the United Nation's Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Palau entered into a 50-year Compact of Free Association with the United States which began on October 1, 1994. The financial provisions are schedule to expire after 15 years.
Secretary Salazar assured President Toribiong that Palau would remain on the Department's agenda and described ongoing efforts to staff positions at the highest levels of the Department and Insular Affairs. He said his staff would be working collaboratively with the Department of State and other federal agencies to ensure a cohesive and unified approach to Palau.
The Secretary thanked the President and Palau's Ambassador to the United States, Hersey Kyota for the service and sacrifices of the citizens of Palau who proudly serve in the U.S. armed forces. Citizens of Palau are among the highest per capita members of the armed forces, compared to other U.S. jurisdictions.
President Toribiong was accompanied at the meeting by Palau Minister of State Sandra Pierentozzi; Palau's Ambassador to the U.S., Hersey Kyota; and Palau Senator Regina K. Mesebeluu. Also attending the meeting were Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, Nikolao Pula; Director of Budgets and Compact Grants, Tom Bussanich; and Palau Desk Officer, Tanya Joshua. Ms. Alcy Frelick, Director of the Office of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State also attended.