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 Designates National Water Trail in Oregon
Office of the Secretary
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science John Tubbs Celebrates Designation at 12th Annual Paddle Oregon Event
CORVALLIS – Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science John Tubbs today joined paddlers and kayakers at McCartney Park in Linn County to celebrate Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's designation of the Willamette River Water Trail as part of the National Water Trails System.
The National Water Trails System is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to establish a conservation and outdoor recreation strategy built for the 21st century and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. The designation promotes America's exemplary water trails and their contribution to environmental stewardship, outdoor recreation, and river conservation.
The Willamette River Water Trail is one of nine National Water Trails designated by Secretary Salazar. The designation acknowledges not only the recreation values of the trail, but also the excellent stewardship of the state, local communities, and other partners who maintain the natural beauty and integrity of the Willamette River.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Tubbs presented the certificate of designation and noted, “The Secretary believes that culture and commerce are inextricably connected by our Nation's rivers.” He further stated, “The economic benefits of outdoor recreation are vital to the local communities and partnerships that manage and support the water trail. The Willamette River Water Trail is a paragon in this growing movement, connecting Americans to their rivers. As more Americans explore the unique and vibrant rivers across the nation, it will foster the need to protect and maintain these national treasures.”
The Deputy Assistant Secretary was joined by Travis Williams, Executive Director of the Willamette Riverkeeper and participants who gathered along the Willamette River for the 12th annual Paddle Oregon event to celebrate the designation.
“Since the inception of the water trail along the Willamette, more people have become attuned to the opportunity that the Willamette River provides for close-to-home recreation,” said Williams. “Over 70% of Oregonians live within a half hour drive of the Willamette, and consequently have a great opportunity to utilize the river.” The Willamette Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the rich ecological diversity of the Willamette River, as well as expanding opportunities for river recreation.
With the designation, the National Park Service will work with the state of Oregon and local partners to promote public use of the river and improve access to the water trail. The Willamette River Water Trail has developed a successful partnership among local communities, public and private entities, including the Willamette Riverkeeper, and with the state of Oregon in developing and maintaining the water trail and its access points. This partnership extends to fostering a shared mission of conservation and environmental stewardship.