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.
Secretary Salazar, Assistant Secretary Strickland, and NPS Director Jarvis Announce Final National Mall Plan
Office of the Secretary
Partner Organization Trust for the National Mall Unveils Recycling Effort
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and National Park Service (NPS) Director Jon Jarvis today signed their names to the final National Mall Plan, capping off a planning effort that included input from more than 30,000 Americans in all 50 states, and culminating in a vision and direction for the NPS' future conservation and preservation of what many call “America's Front Yard.”
“I am pleased to sign the documents completing the National Mall Plan,” said Secretary Salazar. “The National Mall is where we come to learn about our country, our leaders, and to celebrate our shared values of equality and freedom. This plan will help to ensure this special park is capable to upholding these ideals and principles for generations to come.”
As one of the first official public spaces in this nation, the National Mall has undergone many changes over the last 200 years, and its facilities and infrastructure in many locations are no longer capable of accommodating its many uses. Aging facilities—some from the 1800's—have exceeded their life expectancy and require extensive renewal and repair. When the National Mall planning effort began in 2006, deferred maintenance for needed repairs—not improvements to meet visitor needs—totaled more than $400 million.
“A Secretary of the Interior's signature on these documents indicates the importance of the National Mall to this administration and the Department,” added Tom Strickland, Interior‘s Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “The National Mall will forever remain an international symbol of our country and its values. It is imperative we re-invest in our heritage, symbols and democratic way of life. The projects coming out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have made a good start in the needed reinvestment.”
“The National Park Service takes its role of caring for 393 treasured landscapes and places very seriously,” said Director Jarvis. “We require plans such as the National Mall Plan to make sure all of these places are cared for and prepared for the future. Despite the complicated nature of this planning, with the help of all the government agencies, private organizations and members of the public, I believe we have crafted a plan that will make all Americans proud of the National Mall.”
"The National Mall Plan provides a visionary map for the long-overdue restoration of this historic space," said John E. "Chip" Akridge, III, Chairman of the Trust for the National Mall. "We are excited by the current restoration projects at the WWI Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, and the upcoming repairs at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool. These improvements, combined with the improvements laid out in the National Mall Plan, will do more than restore the National Mall; they will also restore its stature as the best park in the world. We look forward to working with our partners at the National Park Service in raising the necessary funds to implement this plan."
After signing documents to finalize the National Mall Plan, the Secretary, Assistant Secretary and NPS Director joined Akridge and representatives from The Coca-Cola Company, the Proud Partner to the National Park Foundation, to highlight the public/private partnership between the NPS, the Trust for the National Mall and Coca-Cola through the unveiling of recycling bins for placement in various locations on the National Mall.
“At Coca-Cola, caring for our environment is part of our heritage and we are committed to preserving and protecting it. We have supported our Nation's national parks for decades, and with more than 25 million visitors each year to the National Mall, there is no better place to provide a visible reminder of the importance of recycling. It is one of the easiest ways to keep our national treasures pristine,” said Steve Cahillane, President and Chief Executive Officer, Coca-Cola Refreshments.
The National Mall Plan sets out 30 objectives. These objectives relate to such topics as cultural and natural resource protection, public access and circulation, visitor information, education and enjoyment, visitor amenities, health, public safety and security and park operations.
Other key objectives include ensuring the monuments, memorials and their settings are preserved and protected, that the National Mall remains a venue for First Amendment demonstrations and national celebrations, that natural resources, such as water, turf, trees/vegetation and soils are improved to be part of a sustainable urban ecosystem, and to fulfill its symbolic and civic importance so the National Mall remains a model of inclusiveness and universal design for all citizens. All of the objectives are contained in the Final National Mall Plan/Environmental Impact Statement at www.nps.gov/nationalmallplan