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.
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: National Park Service to Assist 200 Communities with River and Trail Projects
WASHINGTON—The National Park Service will help local communities implement more than 200 natural resource and recreational projects under the agency's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA), Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today – part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative to establish a community-based, 21st century agenda for conservation, recreation, and reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.
“One of the major goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative is to reconnect Americans to nature by expanding recreational opportunities,” Salazar said. “Through the RTCA program, the National Park Service will provide expertise and assistance to local communities that are building trails and undertaking other conservation and recreation projects."
Under the RTCA program, the National Park Service helps communities and neighborhoods to preserve valuable open spaces, revitalize nearby rivers, and develop trail and greenway networks. This year's projects were selected from the most competitive field of requests ever received by the agency.
Projects are locally conceived and initiated, with RTCA staff supporting community based recreation and conservation leaders. Each year, RTCA project partnerships contribute to the construction of 1,700 miles of trail, conservation of nearly 1,000 miles of river, and protection of more than 50,000 acres of open space.
More than 20 of the projects included in the RTCA project announcement today also were highlighted in the America's Great Outdoors 50-State report released by Secretary Salazar in November. The report listed more than 100 high-priority projects representing what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country. Interior is working closely with states and local communities to advance these priority projects as quickly as possible.