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 Statement on Shell Activities in the Arctic
Office of the Secretary
WASHINGTON – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar released the following statement today after Shell announced it would not drill into oil-bearing zones in the Arctic this year:
“The Interior Department will continue to work with Shell as it oversees the company's preparatory drilling work and other data-gathering activities in the Arctic's Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The Department has set rigorous safety, environmental protection and emergency response standards for any exploration activities in the Arctic, and throughout this process, Shell has demonstrated a commitment to those standards. Through Shell's efforts, tremendous progress has been made and valuable lessons will be learned as the company carefully and deliberately moves forward with Arctic exploration activities. As part of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy, we look forward to continuing to work with Shell to maximize the remaining opportunities this drilling season provides while doing so in a manner that expands domestic energy production, creates jobs, protects people, and safeguards our natural resources.”