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 Highlights Two Proposed Projects in Nevada to Promote Outdoor Recreation, Conservation
Projects Will Be Part of 50-State Report
WASHINGTON — Just days before the release of a 50-state report outlining some of the country's most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the natural world, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today highlighted two projects in the state of Nevada that will be included in the final report — 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.
The renovation of Lorenzi Park in Las Vegas and expansion of recreational opportunities on the Colorado River in Clark County are among 100 projects nationwide that will be highlighted in next week's report — two in every state — as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to establish a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda and reconnect Americans to the outdoors.
The report is a result of 50 meetings with governors and stakeholders held by Salazar and other senior Interior officials to solicit ideas on how to best implement AGO in their states. These projects were identified for their potential to conserve important lands and build recreation opportunities and economic growth for the surrounding communities as part of close engagement with Gov. Brian Sandoval and the state of Nevada, as well as private landowners, local- and tribal-elected officials, community organizations and outdoor-recreation and conservation stakeholders. The full 50-state report will be released in the coming weeks.
“Under the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, we are listening to the people of Nevada and communities across America and working with them on locally-based projects that will conserve the beauty and health of our land and water and open up more opportunities for people to enjoy them,” Salazar said. “My staff and I have been asking each governor for the most promising projects to support in their states, and we will do all we can to help move them forward.”
The two projects in Nevada highlighted by Salazar in the forthcoming report are:
Lorenzi Park Renovation
Lorenzi Park was built in 1921 in central Las Vegas, making it one of the oldest parks in the city. Its 90 acres provide close-to-home recreational opportunities to thousands of residents in the Las Vegas area, and the park has received support from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. With a walking path, playgrounds, basketball courts, picnic facilities, and even dog runs, the park is an important center for outdoor recreation in the community.
The Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza on the park's western side is as an important community gathering area that hosts social and cultural events such as the Las Vegas Blues Festival, comedy shows, and a Filipino-heritage celebration.
Some park renovation has occurred since 2007, but more funds are needed to restore the lake shoreline, complete landscaping, and upgrade other park amenities. When completed, the park will again be a major magnet in Las Vegas for families to enjoy the outdoors.
Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails
In 2000, the Bureau of Reclamation identified project lands in the Laughlin, Nev., and Bullhead City, Ariz., areas compatible for recreation use. Clark County, Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Park Service developed a proposal to restore the riverfront and plant native vegetation from the toe of Davis Dam to the town of Laughlin.
As part of a larger effort, Reclamation cooperatively developed a plan for a loop trail from Davis Dam to the Mojave River Indian Reservation and returning to Davis Dam on the Arizona side of the river. The project's first phase will be completed in February 2012.
The project includes building 5.25 miles of trails, day-use areas, picnic sites, shade shelters, fishing piers, equestrian facilities, and a highway bridge overpass and underpass, and providing access to the Colorado River. The first phase of construction, totaling $23,819,480, was funded by the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act, along with $2 million more from Clark County.
Clark County, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Park Service will work to complete part of the trails system to finish a seven-mile loop and short interpretive trail. Both trails, part of the original concept for the entire regional park, will require more funding and matching in-kind support to be completed. This collaborative work will use agency staff and Youth Conservation Corps crews to meet trail- and project-construction goals.
The report will also include potential actions by Interior and its bureaus to support the projects identified. At Lorenzi Park, for example, the department could provide additional SNPLMA funding to Las Vegas to complete phase II of the project. In Clark County, the Department could provide financial support to hire a YCC crew to work on trails, and the National Park Service could provide assistance in eradicating invasive species.
The Department of the Interior will work with each of its key bureaus — including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — to direct available resources and personnel to make these projects a reality.
“The America's Great Outdoors Initiative turns the conventional wisdom about the federal government's role in conservation on its head,” Salazar said. “Rather than dictate policies or conservation strategies from Washington, it supports grassroots, locally driven initiatives.”
For more information on the President's America's Great Outdoors initiative, click here.
To view a map of the projects already announced, click here.