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.
Salazar Welcomes Second Century Commission Report on Future of National Park System
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today commended the members of the National Parks Second Century Commission for their report on the future of the National Park System, which includes a wide range of recommendations for enhancing all aspects of our national parks.
“I applaud the commission for leaving no stone unturned in seeking ways to enhance our National Park System so that we might better honor our nation's beauty, history and culture, conserve our treasured landscapes and their wildlife, and both inform and inspire the American people,” Salazar said. “The report provides a foundation upon which to build an even brighter future for our already outstanding national parks.”
The National Parks Conservation Association convened the commission, chaired by former U.S. Senators Howard Baker and J. Bennett Johnston, to produce a comprehensive report on the park system as it nears its 100th anniversary in 2016 and begins a second century.
The commission consists of nearly 30 national leaders, experts and thinkers drawn from a broad range of backgrounds, including scientists, historians, conservationists, academics, business leaders, policy experts, and retired National Park Service officials.
In its report, entitled “Advancing the National Park Idea,” the panel said that the National Park System is at a crossroads, facing challenges such as urgent environmental problems, a burgeoning population and critical needs in education. It called for a new vision recognizing the interrelationships between human beings and the natural world and the need for a sustainable relationship between people and the planet.
The report also included recommendations to strengthen the educational role of the National Park System, including new partnerships with the formal education community.
“National parks are no longer just far away places where people go to visit,” Salazar said. “We now have nearly 400 national parks, many of them in or near cities. We have a major role in supporting local communities and especially in fueling a passion our young people for our natural and historical heritage that will help them build a better future for our country.”