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: Salazar Announces $26.7 Million in Grants to States, Territories and Pacific Nations for Historic Preservation
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced $26.7 million in grants from the Historic Preservation Fund to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and three independent Pacific island nations. The grants will enable the states to preserve and protect our nation's historic sites without expending tax dollars.
“These grants will enable citizens of every state and territory to keep alive their heritage as a vital part of the American experience,” Secretary Salazar said. “The grants are not only an investment in the story of America, but will also drive tourism and strengthen local economies.”
The Historic Preservation Fund is supported by revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. The National Park Service administers the fund on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior and uses the majority of appropriated funds to distribute matching grants to State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.
“Throughout the country, HPF grants and other federal historic preservation programs help sustain and revitalize communities,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said. “Historic preservation promotes heritage tourism and can transform under-utilized and often-vacant historic buildings into revenue-generators for local economies. The National Park Service is honored to be invited into so many communities and is proud to assist in saving and sharing history.”
States officials use the grants to fund preservation projects, such as survey and inventory, National Register nominations, preservation education, architectural planning, historic structure reports, community preservation plans, and bricks-and-mortar repair to buildings.
Ten percent of each state's allocation must be sub-granted to Certified Local Governments – city and county governments certified by the National Park Service and the state as having made a local commitment to historic preservation. These funds are spent on local projects, with selection decisions made at the state level.