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.
Secretary Salazar Joins Governor Herbert, Administration Officials at America's Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Session in Salt Lake City
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
SALT LAKE CITY — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Governor Gary Herbert, Mayor Ralph Becker and senior administration officials at a listening session under President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to develop a conservation agenda for the 21st century.
The listening session, one of a series being held across the nation this summer, offers the public an opportunity to share what individuals and communities are doing to promote conservation and outdoor recreation.
"The America's Great Outdoors initiative is a partnership with the American people to build upon what communities across our nation are already doing to conserve our land and wildlife and to reconnect people, especially young people, to the outdoors," Salazar said. "The citizens of Utah have a long history of conserving one of our country's most beautiful states and they serve as an important voice in this national dialogue."
"While America is certainly not lacking when it comes to the 'great outdoors,' it must be noted that Utah meets - and exceeds - every superlative when we consider proximity to the outdoors, stunning beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure," Governor Herbert said. "We are also blessed with a rich abundance of natural resources in Utah, and we have a need to develop these resources to the benefits of Utahns, and all Americans. I firmly believe that Utah is a state that can both love and preserve the great outdoors while also promoting economic development within Utah and energy development for the entire nation."
"Utah is blessed with a variety beautiful outdoor spaces for fishing, hunting, relaxing, or connecting with nature," said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "This listening session will deepen our understanding of which places matter most to the people of Utah, and give us a chance to learn about the new and creative ways they are protecting them."
President Obama inaugurated the America's Great Outdoors Initiative at the White House Conference on the Great Outdoors in April. The conference brought together leaders from communities across the country that are working to protect their outdoor spaces and focused on developing and supporting innovative ideas for improving conservation and recreation at the local level.
In a Presidential Memorandum, he called on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead the initiative, in coordination with the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, Education, and the Office of Management and Budget.
From coast to coast, ranchers, farmers, sportsmen, conservationists, state and local government leaders, tribal leaders, public lands experts, youth leaders, business representatives have been attending listening sessions to discuss the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.
Earlier in the day, Secretary Salazar delivered the keynote address at the Outdoor Industry breakfast, which is held in conjunction with the Outdoor Retailer trade show at the Downtown Marriott.