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: Secretary Salazar, Governor Hickenlooper Outline Conservation Vision for Colorado
Office of the Secretary
Announce Three America's Great Outdoors Projects at Ribbon-Cutting for Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
COMMERCE CITY, CO — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at the ribbon-cutting for the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to announce that they will partner together to advance three conservation initiatives in Colorado as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative. Identified by the State of Colorado, each project exemplifies the heart of America's Great Outdoors by reconnecting Americans – especially young people – to their natural heritage.
“Colorado is setting an example for the rest of the nation as to the value of recreation and conservation to our economy and quality of life,” said Secretary Salazar. “Today begins a new chapter in the strong partnership between the State of Colorado and the Department of the Interior, and I look forward to working with the Governor to help turn these projects into reality.”
“The new Rocky Mountain Arsenal visitor center and three conservation initiatives will further showcase the natural beauty we are fortunate to live in and share with visitors from around the word,” said Governor Hickenlooper. “Under Secretary Salazar's leadership, from Great Outdoors Colorado to America's Great Outdoors, we are creating partnerships and leveraging the state and nation's intellect and creativity to build and protect our natural heritage.”
President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative seeks to work with local communities to create a new conservation and recreation ethic for the 21st Century. As part of the initiative, the Administration held 51 listening sessions across the country that generated valuable input and ideas on how best to protect and enhance the places most important to local communities.
Secretary Salazar has continued this national dialogue with Governors across the nation about how the federal family can support important, local conservation and recreation priorities.
Colorado's three priority projects align with the goals of the America's Great Outdoors initiative to establish or enhance great urban parks; restore important river corridors; and conserve rural, working landscapes. Additional information on each project can be found below.
Yampa River Basin Project: Interior and other federal agencies will work with the State, local stakeholders, private landowners and other partners to help conserve healthy lands and waters in the Yampa River Basin. Through conservation easements, stewardship projects and other tools, the Yampa River Basin project will build on initiatives to work with local ranchers and farmers to preserve working ranches and farms and wildlife habitat, and promote outdoor recreation and tourism. A full description of the Yampa River Basin is here.
San Luis Valley Project: Interior and other federal agencies will work with the State, local stakeholders, private landowners and other partners to help conserve healthy lands and waters and promote tourism in the San Luis Valley and the Rio Grande River Corridor. The AGO project will build upon local and federal efforts to conserve the Valley's vibrant ranching community and protect important wildlife resources and wetland habitat in southern Colorado on a landscape scale. A full description of the San Luis Valley Project is here.
Denver Metro Greenway Project: Interior and other federal agencies will work with the State, stakeholders and other partners to enhance the Denver metropolitan area parks, open spaces and trails, and to create linkages to creeks, river corridors and state and federal parks. Secretary Salazar outlined a vision to potentially create a "Rocky Mountain Greenway" – an uninterrupted trails/transportation link between the three National Wildlife Refuges in the metro region (the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR, the Two Ponds NWR, and the Rocky Flats NWR), the Rocky Mountain National Park and community trails systems in between, and connecting with the Denver metro area's other trail systems. A full description of the Denver Metro Greenway Project is here.
Today's announcement occurred at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center dedication ceremony. The ribbon-cutting for the new, eco-friendly building was a culminating event in the transformation of the Arsenal from a Superfund site to one of the nation's premier urban national wildlife refuges. The visitor center, expected to receive more than 200,000 visitors each year, was completed with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The facility is situated at the southwestern boundary of the refuge, adjacent to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, home of the Colorado Rapids.