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 Helps Unveil “America the Beautiful” Quarters Featuring National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios and U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy in unveiling the first five “America the Beautiful” quarters, featuring America's four oldest national parks – Hot Springs, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon – and Mount Hood National Forest.
“Today we celebrate the breathtaking landscapes and natural heritage of ‘America the Beautiful,' by commemorating our country's most treasured places on our currency” Salazar said. “When people come across one of these quarters, they will see the word 'Liberty' on one side and a national park, refuge, or forest on the other. They will know that Americans cherish these things dearly and desire to share both the freedom and the beauty of our land with all who likewise cherish them.”
The five quarters unveiled today are the first of 56 that will be issued between 2010 and 2021. They will include 48 National Park sites, two U.S. Fish and Wildlife sites, and six U.S. Forest Service sites.
Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Harris Sherman and Rep. Mike Castle, who introduced the legislation authorizing the quarters, also were in attendance.
The coins will be issued sequentially in the order in which the featured location was first placed under the care of the federal government. Hot Springs National Park was established as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832 and later became a national park. Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, followed by Yosemite in 1890 and the Grand Canyon in 1893.
Congress authorized the America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 to celebrate the nation's legacy of conservation. The legislation recalls noteworthy steps in the nation's preservation movement and quotes Theodore Roosevelt who said that nothing short of defending this country in wartime “compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendents than it is for us.”
Salazar and the United States Mint selected the places based on recommendations from the governor or chief executive of each jurisdiction. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner approved the list on August 25, 2009.
In addition to the coins for circulation, the Mint will produce collectable items including proof sets, silver proof sets, a five ounce silver bullion coin, coin bags, and coin rolls for each quarter. For more information about the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, please visit http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/NSQuartersProgram/index.cfm.