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.
Interior, Agriculture Secretaries to Purchase 5,026 Acres of Western Land with High Conservation Value
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that their agencies would acquire seven parcels of high value conservation land, totaling 5,026 acres in Colorado, Montana and Nevada for $11.7 million. The largest is a 4,573-acre property within the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado.
The acquisitions are authorized by the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act of 2000, which established a special land conservation fund to purchase private “inholdings” in western states from willing sellers whose acreage is surrounded by or next to lands managed by Interior's Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service, and the Department of Agriculture's U.S. Forest Service.
“These land purchases are a very worthwhile and much needed investment,” said Secretary Salazar. “The properties being brought into public ownership are remarkable for their extraordinary natural, scenic, recreational, cultural, and historical value. Their acquisition will benefit the American people now and in the future.”
“Conservation of forests and wildland areas of national significance will provide important environmental and recreation benefits for generations of Americans,” said Vilsack. “Today's announcement is an important step toward this shared goal and an example of how the FLTFA program succeeds by enabling close cooperation between USDA and the Department of Interior.”
Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey, noting that the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act is set to expire next year, said, “By using revenues from Federal land sales to acquire private inholdings from willing sellers, this law is a great tool for conserving America's signature landscapes for future generations. The Obama Administration has recommended that Congress extend the law so that more Americans may benefit from these types of fiscally responsible, targeted land acquisitions.”
The purchases are funded from already completed Federal land sales. Under the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, the Bureau of Land Management is authorized to sell fragmented or isolated parcels of public land that are difficult to manage, as well as lands that may have residential or commercial value, and then use the proceeds to support land-conservation purposes.
In addition to the property for the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management would acquire three other parcels, including a 37-acre property within the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail corridor in Montana and two parcels totaling 7 acres within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would acquire 280 acres within the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. The U.S. Forest Service would purchase two Nevada properties in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The property on the Huboldt-Toiyabe National Forest totals 123 acres is just east of the Tahoe Basin with creek frontage and a portion of the federally designated Pony Express National Historic Trail. The property within Spring Mountains National Recreation Area is a
5- acre parcel adjacent to the Mount Stirling Wilderness Study Area. The property contains Horseshutem Spring, a unique water feature in the area that supports many plant and wildlife species.
The Canyons of the Ancients property accounts for about 25 percent of the private lands inside the Monument and contains 25 documented sites of cultural importance, including Jackson's Castle and the Skywatcher Site, a 1,000-year old Ancestral Puebloan solstice marker. The property is believed to contain more than 700 other as yet undocumented sites of cultural importance.
Since 2007, the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture have approved more than $66.8 million under the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act for land acquisition by BLM, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. This funding enabled the acquisition to date of 28 parcels (16,700 acres).