Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
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).
Secretary Salazar, President Shelly Break Ground on Major Infrastructure Project to Deliver Running Water to Navajo Nation
Office of the Secretary
250,000 Americans will benefit from project expedited by President Obama
GALLUP, N.M. – Following through on President Obama's direction to expedite high priority infrastructure projects for the nation, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and other leaders to break ground today on the historic Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, which will deliver clean running water to 200,000 members of the Navajo Nation, many of whom for the first time.
“We are turning dirt today on this project because President Obama has put such a high priority on honoring our commitments to Indian nations, to resolving long-standing water disputes, and to jump-starting major American infrastructure projects,” said Secretary Salazar, who recognized Senator Jeff Bingaman and Senator Tom Udall for their critical role in advancing the project in the Congress. “It is simply unacceptable that four in ten members of the Navajo Nation must
haul their water – often over long distances – from water stations. This project will be an engine for economic growth, create jobs, and supply the lifeblood for communities that have been without running water for far too long.”
“I am thankful that the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is about to begin construction,” said President Shelly. “This project is moving the Navajo Nation forward by bringing water to many homes. We will continue to look forward and anticipate the many benefits this project will bring to our people.”
Hundreds of workers will now begin construction on 280 miles of pipeline, two water treatment plants and a delivery system that will serve 43 Navajo chapters, the southwest portion of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and the city of Gallup. The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, which will provide a long-term sustainable water supply to a population expected to reach approximately 250,000 people by the year 2040, will start providing water to some communities within 2-3 years and is expected to be fully built-out by 2024.
The project, which was authorized by legislation President Obama signed on March 30, 2009, is the cornerstone of a hallmark Indian water rights settlement that resolved decades of uncertainty and dispute over water rights for the Navajo Nation and other water users in New Mexico. The project is also one of 14 high-priority infrastructure initiatives being expedited by the Obama administration as a result of a Presidential Memorandum issued in August 2011 in which the
President directed federal agencies to improve permitting and environmental review processes for major infrastructure project in order to bring long-term economic benefits to communities across America, while improving accountability, transparency and efficiency.
“Over the past three years, we have reached unprecedented and historic Indian water rights settlements that provide secure water supplies for communities and certainty to all water users,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. “To see the Navajo-Gallup Project break ground is to be reminded that consensus-building and cooperation can bring about real and lasting change for communities that still do not have clean and reliable water supplies. Today is
a proud day.”
The Bureau of Reclamation has worked closely with other federal agencies and with the Navajo Nation and to find ways to move quickly on the necessary environmental permits and other construction prerequisites to move forward as expeditiously and efficiently as possible as a high-priority infrastructure project. The first construction contract for Reach 12A of the project was awarded in mid-April to McMillen LLC, a female-owned construction company.
Today's groundbreaking marked the beginning of construction on the first four miles of the main pipeline, which will be constructed as part of Reach 12A near Tohlakai Hill, outside of Gallup. The initial stage of construction on the project will create upwards of 450 jobs, with more than 650 jobs at peak construction – providing employment opportunities and economic benefits to neighboring American Indian communities.
In addition to project reaches to be completed by Reclamation under its own authorities, other portions will be constructed by the city of Gallup, the Navajo Nation, and the Indian Health Service in accordance with financial assistance agreements with Reclamation.
Among the leaders attending today's ceremony were: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor, Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize, Jicarilla Apache Nation President Levi Pesata, New Mexico Engineer Scott Verhines, and City of Gallup Mayor Jackie McKinney.