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.
Interior to Examine Integration of Interior's Mining Regulation and Mine Reclamation Programs
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today launched a process to evaluate how to best integrate the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) into the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to further strengthen the bureaus' mining regulations and abandoned mine land reclamation programs. The initiative will be undertaken with the coordination and input of employees, Members of Congress, and interested parties.
“We must always be looking for ways to make government work better, to build on our strengths, and to get the most out of the limited resources we have,” said Secretary Salazar. “OSM and the BLM have vital natural resource missions, tremendous public servants, and strong leaders who are helping us rethink how we better deliver services and how we can further strengthen our regulation, reclamation, and stewardship responsibilities. We will rely on the ideas and input of employees and many others at every step of the process, so that we ensure that an integration is successful and consistent with our authorities under the law.”
The Secretarial Order issued today will become effective December 1, 2011, following consultation with the White House Office of Management and Budget, employees, and applicable Congressional committees with responsibilities over these functions. The Order directs Interior Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes to work with OSM and BLM leadership and employees to develop a schedule, by March 1, 2012, to achieve strategic improvements in four primary areas:
Administrative Support Functions. Integration of OSM's administrative functions with the BLM's administrative functions, including, but not limited to, the management of human resources, budget, communications, information, finance, ethics, and acquisition and financial assistance.
Environmental Restoration of Abandoned Mine Lands. Integration of OSM's abandoned mine lands programs and functions including its State grants-in-aid program and the Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System and the BLM's mine and surface reclamation programs.
Fee Collections. Integration of OSM's coal fee collection and distribution functions with the Office of Natural Resources Revenue functions and programs, which already handles coal, oil and gas and geothermal revenue collection, and distribution functions and programs for the BLM.
Regulation, Inspection and Enforcement and State Program Oversight. Integration of OSM's coal mining regulation, inspection and enforcement programs and functions and the BLM's inspection and enforcement program functions relating to mining.
“OSM has a strong record over the last two and a half years of providing strong and effective enforcement of surface coal mining and of ensuring timely reclamation of disturbed lands and waters,” said OSM Director Joe Pizarchik. “The Secretary has asked us to build on our strengths by looking at how we can best integrate certain functions with the BLM, so that we are making the most effective use of limited resources.”
“OSM and the BLM have many complementary responsibilities with respect to mining and the reclamation of mine lands, and it makes sense to explore how we can bring the best out of the two bureaus as they carry out their statutory responsibilities,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “Examining new organizational structures can be challenging, but we must be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking about how to make government work better.”
OSM oversees State surface coal mining regulatory programs and develops new tools to ensure the states and tribes administer their programs effectively. The Office's 525 employees are located at the Headquarters in Washington DC and throughout three regional offices -- Appalachian, Mid-Continent, and Western.
The BLM manages more land - over 245 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.
Click HERE for the Memorandum on the OSM-BLM reorganization and HERE for the Secretarial Order.