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.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, BUSINESS SERVICES, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS,
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES,
UNITED STATES SENATE,
CONCERNING H.R. 3689,
PROVIDING FOR A FOUR-YEAR EXTENSION OF THE LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY
OF THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL FUND, INC.,
TO ESTABLISH A VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL VISITOR CENTER,
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
December 3, 2009
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 3689, a bill to provide for an extension of the legislative authority of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. (the Fund) to establish a Vietnam Veterans Memorial visitor center, and for other purposes.
The Department supports H.R. 3689 as passed by the House.
The visitor center was authorized by Public Law 108-126, signed on November 17, 2003.Following site analysis and the completion of an environmental assessment, the visitor center was approved to be located on the NPS proposed site on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial, bounded by Constitution Avenue, Henry Bacon Drive, Lincoln Memorial Circle, and 23rd Street, N.W., so long as certain mitigation set forth in design standards developed jointly by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) are met.To protect the sensitive landscape of the site, which includes views to and from the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the design team is responding to these critical design standards and criteria. The criteria have been helpful to move this important commemorative work forward while minimizing potential impacts to the surrounding views and nearby memorials.In addition to public consultation under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Commemorative Works Act requires an important series of reviews and approvals by NCPC and CFA.To meet the challenges associated with designing this project on such a sensitive and highly visible site, and the legislative requirement that it be located underground, the NPS and the Fund have made design refinements as needed during this process.
We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made gaining approvals for the design. Furthermore, the NPS believes that the design will be fully approved in a timely fashion and that the visitor center can be completed and open to the public within the additional four years that H.R. 3689 would allow.Without the proposed extension, the Fund's current authority to establish this visitor center will expire on November 17, 2010.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment.This concludes my prepared remarks and I will be happy to answer any questions you or other committee members might have.