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.
Deputy Secretary Hayes Meets with Alaska Regional Leaders and Renewable Energy Experts
ANCHORAGE, AK – Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes today met with senior federal and state officials in Anchorage to ensure the continuing coordination of federal responsibilities related to energy permitting in Alaska. The visit was part of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy to safely and responsible expand domestic energy production and to coordinate energy development and permitting in Alaska.
“Alaska's energy resources – onshore and offshore, conventional and renewable - hold great promise and economic opportunity for the people of Alaska and across the nation,” said Deputy Secretary Hayes, who serves as chair of the Interagency Working Group on Coordination of Domestic Energy Permitting in Alaska established in July by President Obama to coordinate energy development in Alaska. “While agencies across the Federal government have various responsibilities to ensure safe and responsible energy development in Alaska, it is more important than ever that federal reviews of energy projects proceed in an efficient and coordinated way, with the federal government speaking with one voice.”
As part of the Working Group's ongoing efforts to advance renewable energy development in Alaska, Hayes met with Alaska renewable energy experts to discuss ways to promote small-scale wind energy solutions for rural Alaskan villages. The meeting was one in a series of recent initiatives by state and federal policy-makers to address the energy challenges facing rural Alaskans—particularly in off-the-grid, rural Alaska villages—and build upon the success of Alaska's growing renewable energy sector.
“Access to reliable, affordable energy remains a significant problem in rural Alaska,” added Hayes. “One potential solution can be found in Alaska's abundant wind resources. With a number of successful wind energy projects underway across the state, from Kodiak to Kotzebue, the time is ripe to apply lessons learned and support similar projects in isolated but renewable energy-rich villages in Alaska. We look forward to working closely with the state, rural energy providers, NGOs and others who have already devoted significant time and resources to address these challenges.”
Meeting participants included state leaders in Alaska renewable energy, including utilities, state and federal officials, Alaska Native organizations, members of the academic community, non-governmental organizations and industry.