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.
Readout of Secretary Jewell's Visit to Fire Incident Command Posts in Arizona
Office of the Secretary
PEEPLES VALLEY, AZ – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today visited the Incident Command Posts for the Yarnell Fire and Dean Peak Fire in Arizona, where she met with first responders and volunteers. Secretary Jewell thanked them for their service as they work to contain the fires and protect human life and property.
“The men and women who continue to fight the devastating fires in Yarnell and across the West are true heroes, and I'm here on behalf of the Administration to show our support for their work and dedication after this week's heartbreaking tragedy,” said Secretary Jewell. “Interior and Forest Service employees are on the ground helping to fight the Yarnell fire, and we stand ready to provide whatever further assistance the state of Arizona and local communities need to extinguish the blaze and protect lives and property.”
In honor of the 19 firefighters that died on Sunday, Jewell has directed flags to be flown at half-mast at all Interior assets, including national parks, fish and wildlife refuges, and public lands.
Jewell, along with Principal Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze, met with Incident Commanders Clay Templin and Mike Quesinberry where they received a brief update on the efforts of state and local responders to contain the fire and how federal partners – the U. S. Forest Service and Department of the Interior and the Federal Emergency Management Agency– can best support their efforts.
There are currently 60 Department of the Interior personnel supporting the State of Arizona in the coordinated, interagency response to the Yarnell Fire. A Type I Incident Management Team is managing the fire, with support from a National Incident Management Organization team. There are a total of 448 Interagency fire personnel assigned to the incident.
Jewell and Kornze also visited the Incident Management Team for the Dean Peak Fire, which is located about ten miles southeast of Kingman, Arizona. A Type II Incident Management Team is managing the fire in a full suppression strategy.
Overall, about 1,700 Interior personnel are among the more than 5,640 firefighters from the federal family who are currently working in partnership with local and state firefighters to battle fires in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, and California.