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.
Sec. Jewell and Gov. Hickenlooper Tour Innovative Efforts to Conserve and Enhance Habitat for Sage Grouse
Office of the Secretary
Commend Colorado Ranch Manager Ray Owens for Being Named Colorado's Wildlife Landowner of the Year
Last edited 4/26/2016
CRAIG, CO – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper today visited northwestern Colorado as part of the Secretary's commitment to working with states and private landowners toward developing conservation efforts for sage grouse in the region. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and Bureau of Land Management Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze joined Jewell and Hickenlooper for a tour of the Bord Gulch Ranch, as well as for a stakeholder meeting with local landowners and officials.
After the ranch visit, Jewell commended its manager, Ray Owens, for the innovative conservation efforts to promote habitat for sage grouse that led him recently to being named one of two recipients of Colorado Parks and Wildlife's (CPW) 2013 Wildlife Landowner of the Year award.
“Ray Owens is a model of the 21st century western rancher with his outstanding stewardship of this working landscape,” said Jewell. “He represents the spirit of partnership that can be replicated across the West as we develop landscape-level strategies to lessen the threats to the sage grouse and conserve its habitat.”
“The Bord Gulch Ranch is a terrific example of the significant progress made through public/private partnerships in conservation for the greater sage grouse,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “Some rural residents rely on access and productivity on public land as part of their livelihood. We thank everyone involved in the effort to protect and preserve this iconic species while providing for continued and future economic vibrancy for rural Colorado.”
Working with federal and state agencies, including the CPW, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Owens has implemented a variety of conservation actions that directly benefit the species on the 16,000-acre ranch. These conservation efforts include water projects, fencing, and other infrastructure improvements designed to improve habitat conditions for the bird.
“Ray has committed countless hours working on these projects in the field, in agency offices, and leading tours of his ranch to share his experience with others and lead by example,” Jewell said. “We have an opportunity to work together to develop and execute a conservation strategy, rooted in partnerships, that effectively addresses the threats to the sage grouse.”
The partnership of landowners is at the heart of a joint effort by the federal government and western states to develop and implement a landscape-level conservation plan for the sage grouse before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to make a decision whether to protect the bird under the Endangered Species Act in 2015.
Two years ago, then-Secretary Ken Salazar and western governors formed the Sage Grouse Task Force to develop a cooperative approach to conserving the species across the West. This approach offers the best opportunity to conserve the species consistent with traditional land uses such as ranching and energy development.
Jewell emphasized that the development of this approach has reached a critical time, and that states in particular must work with private landowners and their federal partners to develop comprehensive strategies that can be demonstrated to reduce the threats to the bird and its habitat.
Additionally, Jewell and Hickenlooper earlier today met in Denver with representatives from the oil and gas industry, non-government organizations, and Colorado officials in a roundtable discussion of federal and state efforts to reduce methane emissions during the production, storage and transportation of oil and gas. As called for in President Obama's Climate Action Plan, Interior is working collaboratively with state governments, as well as the private sector, to reduce emissions across multiple sectors, improve air quality, and achieve public health and economic benefits.