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.
FWS Acting Director Gould, Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary Jensen Host America's Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Session in Pierre, S.D.
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
PIERRE, SD. — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould and Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jay Jensen hosted 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, offers citizens the opportunity to share what they are doing in their communities to better conserve our nation's land, water and wildlife, as well as to explore more opportunities for Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation.
“The success of conservation in America has always been rooted at the local level, where citizens and communities give their time and their talent to care of our nation's treasures,” Gould said. “As we tackle the conservation challenges of a new century, the work already being done by citizens in South Dakota and across the country will serve as the foundation for the America's Great Outdoors initiative.”
“A healthy and prosperous America relies on healthy forests and grasslands, and the benefits they provide: clean air and water, they provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species; recreation opportunities; forage for livestock, whose production contributes to the local economies and communities," said Jay Jensen, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. “We want to hear and learn about the successful work happening in the region to conserve, restore, and keep working forests economically viable so that we can count on these forests staying as forests into the future. It is efforts such as these that will further build a 21st century conservation agenda.”
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 to discuss the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.