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.
National Park Service Takes Next Step in Revitalization Project of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
Office of the Secretary
WASHINGTON DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the National Park Service (NPS) has initiated the next step in the proposed revitalization of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and remains on track to have the project completed in time for the 50th anniversary of completion of the Gateway Arch in 2015.
The NPS has opened a five week scoping period as part of the Environmental Assessment (EA). Members of the public are invited and encouraged to share their comments, concerns, or questions regarding the scope of the EA for proposed physical changes to the park and facilities as a result of the recent international design competition.
“The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial's revitalization can serve as a model of how great urban parks can provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and invite more people to fully enjoy our nation's natural beauty, culture and history,” Salazar said. “I encourage members of the public to engage in this design process as we seek to revitalize the park and strengthen its connections to both banks of the Mississippi River.”
The park's November 2009 General Management Plan directed the design competition as a means to revitalize Jefferson National Expansion Memorial by improving connections to the city and expanding programming, facilities, and partnerships, and to enhance the visitor experience. The winner, Michael VanValkenburg and Associates from New York, was selected by a jury from five finalists.
“The Gateway Arch symbolizes our nation's desire to move boldly toward the future,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “Today's announcement is another step in that direction as we work to improve the park for the surrounding communities, for the nation, and for generations to come.”
The major components of the project currently under consideration include:
a landscaped “lid” over the depressed lanes of I-70 between the Gateway Arch grounds and downtown;
renovation of the underground museum and a new entrance;
accessibility improvements and new exhibits in the Old Courthouse;
development of accessible trails to the riverfront;
expanded visitor programming and amenities on the Gateway Arch grounds; and
improvements to the sustainability of the landscape at the park.
Secretary Salazar has made several visits to the park grounds as Secretary of the Interior, most recently in December, 2010 when he toured the park and reviewed the winning design concept. Salazar said that the project complements the goal of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative to establish great urban parks and expand opportunities for all Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation.
A scoping newsletter can be found here http://parkplanning.nps.gov/jeff_ea_newsletter. Comments on the project can be submitted electronically on the NPS planning comment web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/JEFF. Written comments may be addressed to Superintendent, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, 11 N. 4th Street, St. Louis, MO 63102. All comments must be received by August 30, 2011.