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.
BLM Director Abbey, Forest Service Chief Tidwell Host America's Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Session in Grand Junction
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell today held a public listening session as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to develop a conservation agenda for the 21st century.
The listening session, one of a series taking place across the country, gave an opportunity to citizens to discuss ways local communities are meeting the challenges of modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.
“The goal of the America's Great Outdoors initiative is to develop 21st century solutions to the 21st century conservation challenges that are affecting our landscapes from population growth to habitat fragmentation to climate change,” Abbey said. “If we are to succeed, we must work hand-in-hand with communities across our country to find new ways of restoring and conserving our land and connecting people to nature.”
“America's Great Outdoors Initiative provides a great opportunity for kids and adults alike from all walks of life to explore and enjoy our national forests,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We especially hope to see a lot of first-time visitors to our forests and grasslands to instill a sense of pride and ownership of our country's diverse landscapes and resources.”
President Obama inaugurated the America's Great Outdoors Initiative at the White House Conference on the Great Outdoors in April. The conference brought together leaders from communities across the country that are working to protect their outdoor spaces and focused on developing and supporting innovative ideas for improving conservation and recreation at the local level.
In a Presidential Memorandum, he called on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead the initiative, in coordination with the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, Education, and the Office of Management and Budget.
From coast to coast, ranchers, farmers, sportsmen, conservationists, state and local government leaders, tribal leaders, public lands experts, youth leaders, business representatives have been attending listening sessions as a part of a national dialogue about conservation that will lead to greater support for the conservation efforts of private citizens and local communities.