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 Announces $1.2 Million Assistance to American Samoa for Post-Tsunami Disaster Recovery Initiatives
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the Department is providing $1.2 million in special assistance to the Government of American Samoa for post-tsunami disaster recovery projects.
“The Federal Government responded to this catastrophe with a full, swift and aggressive assistance program and continues to assist the American Samoa people by providing the resources necessary to recover,” Secretary Salazar said. “We keep those who have lost so much in our thoughts and prayers, as we provide the funds, technical assistance and federal program resources that will not only care for those affected by this tragic event but also better prepare American Samoa to deal with future natural disasters.”
Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Tony Babauta signed the grant award that provides $340,000 that will enable the American Samoan Department of Human and Social Services to establish a comprehensive, long-term mental health system for tsunami victims. Additionally, $860,000 will assist in a collaborative effort with the University of Hawaii to complement, strengthen and sustain disaster recovery initiatives and improvements and establish an electronic system for safeguarding employee records and data. These funds are in addition to the government operation and economic development funds the Department provides the American Samoa Government, enabling it to offer a wide-array of easily accessible services for residents of American Samoa.
“Coupled with the leadership of Governor Togiola and the great resilience of the people of American Samoa, Federal support has helped the island emerge stronger and better prepared for any future disaster,” said Assistant Secretary Babauta. “I am pleased that Interior can be part of this recovery effort.”
A magnitude 8.3 earthquake occurred about 100 miles southwest of American Samoa on September 29, 2009. The quake struck about 33 kilometers below the seabed but rocked the island and generated several tsunami flood surges that came ashore, flooding low-lying villages, roads, homes, and other structures.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency activated its National Response Coordination Center, as well as its Regional Response Coordination Center to support American Samoa people as they responded to the earthquake and tsunami. Working closely with the US Coast Guard, FEMA, which had provisions pre-positioned in Hawaii, deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team as well as a Planning and Response Team to provide support and on the ground assessment as resources were deployed to areas needing immediate assistance.