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.
Coral Reef Conservation; Northern Mariana Islands Land Transfer: HR 934
Nikolao I. Pula, JR.
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs
House Natural Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Insular affairs, Oceans and wildlife
a Bill to Convey Certain Submerged Lands to the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Order to Give that
Territory the Same Benefits in its Submerged Lands as Guam,
The Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have in their Submerged Lands
February 25, 2009
Madam Chair and members of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss H.R. 934. I am Nikolao Pula, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs.
H.R. 934 would give the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) authority over its submerged lands from mean high tide seaward to three geographical miles distant from its coast lines.
The Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
in Political Union with the United States of America defines the unique relationship between the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States, recognizing U.S. sovereignty but limiting, in some respects, the applicability of federal law. Under the Covenant, the submerged lands off the coasts of the Northern Mariana Islands did not transfer to the CNMI when the Covenant came into force. This was subsequently confirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court in the case of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands v. the United States of America.
As a result, CNMI does not own the submerged lands within three miles of its shores, unlike the states and territories that have been granted submerged lands by the Submerged Lands Act and the Territorial Submerged Lands Act, respectively. Consequences of this decision are that CNMI cannot authorize and control the development of the natural resources or enforce its laws within these three miles.
The Department of the Interior, therefore, supports enactment of H.R. 934.