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.
Secretary Salazar Hosts America's Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Session in Denver
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
DENVER — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today hosted a public listening session on how to better conserve our nation's land, water and wildlife and open up more opportunities for Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation.
The listening session, one of a series taking place across the country, is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to address the pressures on our landscapes from population growth, habitat fragmentation, climate change and other threats by developing a conservation agenda worthy of the 21st century and reconnecting Americans with the great outdoors.
“Living in one of our country's most scenic areas, the people of Colorado have a deep love of the great outdoors and a strong conservation heritage,” Salazar said. “If we are going to develop an effective conservation agenda for the 21st century for our country, we must reach out to communities in Colorado and across our land to hear their ideas and to support their efforts to conserve our land, water and wildlife.”
“The America's Great Outdoors initiative will support a conservation agenda that builds on successes at the local level,” he said. “We are engaged in a national dialogue about conservation that will lead to greater support for the conservation efforts of private citizens and local communities.”
“Public and private conservation and natural resource stewardship are integral to the history, culture, and prosperity of Colorado,” said Harris Sherman, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. “We look forward to hearing in greater detail about the hard work happening in the area, because support for successful regional and local conservation efforts will be key as we chart 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.