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.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on S. 1608, the Southern Nevada Readiness Center Act. S. 1608 would convey without consideration between 35 and 50 acres of land from Clark County, Nevada, to the Nevada Division of State Lands for use by the Nevada National Guard for defense and security training. All right, title, and interest to these lands was conveyed by the BLM to Clark County, Nevada, in 1999, as directed by Section 4(g) of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998 (SNPLMA), for inclusion in the McCarran Airport Cooperative Management Area (CMA).
The CMA was established in 1992 through an agreement between Clark County and BLM to manage development around McCarran Airport, which services the greater Las Vegas area. As directed by SNPLMA, approximately 5,000 acres of public lands was conveyed by the BLM to Clark County for inclusion in the CMA boundary. SNPLMA requires that Clark County manage the lands in the CMA in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 47504, relating to airport noise compatibility planning, so that development in the CMA is compatible with the nature of airport operations. Further, section (4)(g) of SNPLMA requires that any conveyance of CMA lands by Clark County be for fair market value, and the revenue distributed according to the formula outlined in Section (4)(g) of SNPLMA.
The BLM is mindful that S. 1608 conveys the CMA lands from one public entity to another for important national defense and security purposes. In balancing these considerations against the provisions of SNPLMA that require the sale of CMA lands for fair market value, the BLM supports the bill and the conveyance of the CMA lands for no consideration. However, we suggest that the bill be amended to include a provision that if the State of Nevada ceases to use the lands for the purpose intended in S. 1608, the lands revert to the County to be managed consistent with the provisions of SNPLMA.
We also recommend an amendment to correct the acreage identified in S. 1608 from “between 35 and 50 acres” to “approximately 51 acres.”
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on S. 1608. We look forward to working with the sponsor and the Committee on this important piece of legislation.