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.
Salazar Calls on Public-Private Partnership to Restore National Mall
Office of the Secretary
WASHINGTON DC – In remarks today at a benefit for the National Mall, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar outlined a vision for a public-private campaign to restore the nation's most visited national park, and thanked the National Park Service's many private, philanthropic, and non-profit partners for their support. The remarks were made at the Trust for the National Mall's Annual Benefit Luncheon.
“The National Mall is where we come to learn about our country, our leaders, and to celebrate our shared values of equality and freedom,” Secretary Salazar said. “It is imperative that we work with our philanthropic partners, the private sectors, and all Americans to ensure this special park - our most visited National Park – is able to carry forward our nation's principles, ideals, and stories for the generations that follow.”
Secretary Salazar also announced today that former First Lady Laura Bush has agreed to serve as honorary chair of the national campaign to restore the National Mall. The $350 million campaign is being managed by the Trust for the National Mall, the official partner of the National Park Service for the National Mall.
“Laura Bush's participation is a tremendous validation of the importance of the National Mall to our country, and we are fortunate to have her join the effort,” said John E. “Chip” Akridge, III, Chairman of the Trust for the National Mall. “We look forward to working with the Secretary of the Interior and the American people on this historic campaign.”
Over the last two years, the Administration has invested $60 million in job-creating restoration projects already underway on the National Mall, including the reconstruction of the Jefferson Memorial seawall, the revitalization of the Lincoln Memorial landscape and reflecting pool, and the restoration of the DC War Memorial to WWI Veterans.
Last November, Salazar signed the National Mall Plan, a comprehensive blueprint for the first major renovation of the park since 1976.
“I believe we have crafted a plan that will make all Americans proud of the National Mall,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said. “We are honored by Laura Bush's participation in the campaign to make this plan a reality just as we have been honored to welcome her as a frequent visitor to America's national parks. She knows first-hand the importance of these places as the keepers of America's stories and as great destinations to share with family and friends.”
Projects in the National Mall Plan will include:
Restore the Lincoln Reflecting Pool using sustainable technology that will save 50 million gallons of potable water each year.
Repurpose historic structures and areas like the Lockkeepers House, Constitution Gardens and Survey Lodge to better provide history and services to Mall visitors.
Prepare the National Mall for the high level of use it receives from the 25 million annual visitors – providing restored and improved amenities including food facilities, restrooms and information resources.
Improve the quality of the park's natural resources including restoring The Mall between 3rd and 14th Streets, providing a healthy and well functioning urban ecosystem.
Repairing the seawall around the Tidal Basin which is breached twice a day by high tide.