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.
HARTFORD, CT -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Governor Dannel Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman John B. Larson and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra in a tour of the Connecticut's Coltsville Historic District. During the visit, Secretary Salazar discussed ongoing efforts to establish a National Historical Park and noted the economic and job creating benefits of conservation, travel, tourism and outdoor recreation in local communities.
“Samuel and Elizabeth Colt played a pivotal role in America's Industrial Revolution when they established Coltsville, a first-of-its-kind industrial community that helped transform manufacturing in this county,” Salazar said. “Today, as a historical site that draws visitors from across the nation, Coltsville again promises to be an economic engine, producing jobs and spurring growth in the Hartford area."
Salazar noted that the nation's 394 national parks welcomed more than 281 million visitors last year who spent nearly $12 billion and supported 247,000 jobs. The Lowell National Historical Park in Massachusetts, another site that commemorates the industrial revolution in New England, drew 565,000 visitors in 2009 and supports more than 432 jobs in the local community.
Coltsville flourished during the Industrial Revolution, spurring innovation not only in the production of firearms but also with the development of technology that led to changes in the American way of life. Samuel Colt's revolver design, which eliminated the need to reload until five or six shots had been fired, made Colt Fire Arms Company a source of innovation in precision manufacturing and firearms design well into the 21st century.
Samuel Colt also worked with Samuel Morse in the development of the telegraph, and Colt manufacturing contributed to the development of new technology, inspiring the jet engine pioneers Francis Pratt and Amos Whitney, who served as apprentices with the company.
In recognition of its national and historical significance, the 260-acre Coltsville Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008. Congressman Larson has joined with Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Richard Blumenthal to introduce the “Coltsville National Historical Park Act” to make the site a new national park.
Later in the day, Salazar, Congressman Larson and Mayor Segarra also toured the riverfront area of downtown Hartford, highlighting the importance that rivers play in outdoor recreation and the economy. A key component of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative calls for reconnecting Americans, especially youth, to the riverways and lands that power our communities.
“America's rivers are the lifeblood of our economy – and the Connecticut River is no exception,” said Secretary Salazar. “It is great to see such robust efforts underway to restore this river and to fully realize its recreational, environmental and economic benefits to the Hartford community.”
Salazar was briefed on restoration efforts on the Connecticut River and iQuilt, an innovative plan to connect 45 of the city's public spaces and cultural assets. The central feature of the iQuilt project is the Greenwalk, a proposed pedestrian and spatial connection of Hartford's two main landscapes, the Connecticut River Waterfront and Bushnell Park.