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.
OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
ON S. 1767
AND H.R. 1121,
BILLS TO AUTHORIZE A LAND EXCHANGE TO ACQUIRE LANDS
FOR THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
FROM THE TOWN OF BLOWING ROCK, NORTH CAROLINA,
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
NOVEMBER 4, 2009
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 1767 and H.R. 1121, bills to authorize a land exchange to acquire lands for the Blue Ridge Parkway
from the Town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and for other purposes.
The Department supports this legislation. S. 1767 and H.R. 1121, which are identical in substance, would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to exchange approximately 20 acres of land at the MosesH.ConeMemorial Park, a popular recreational area located within the boundary of the Blue Ridge Parkway
, for approximately 192 acres of land owned by the Town of Blowing Rock (Town).This proposed exchange would be mutually beneficial to the National Park Service (NPS) and the Town.
In 1949, the Moses Cone Hospital Trust deeded the 3,500-acre MosesH.ConeMemorial Park to the Blue Ridge Parkway
.This property had been held in trust by the hospital from 1911 until 1949 under a deed from Bertha Cone, the property's owner.During that period, Mrs. Cone gave permission to the Town of Blowing Rock to install a pipeline from the Town to a creek on the property.In 1955, the NPS issued a permit to the Town allowing them to dam the creek to form a reservoir, which continues to be used by the Town as its primary source of drinking water.
The Town and NPS officials at the Blue Ridge Parkway
have long been in agreement that it would be better for the Town to own and manage their municipal water supply, rather than accessing it through the NPS permitting process.Several years ago, NPS and the Town sought to initiate an administrative land exchange. In November 2003, the Town purchased a 192-acre tract of land adjacent to the ConeMemorial Park in anticipation of exchanging this land for approximately 20 acres of land within the ConeMemorial Park that would include the reservoir and a small amount of land that the Town could flood in order to increase the size of the reservoir.The proposed exchange would give the Town an unencumbered water supply and the potential for some expansion of capacity, while the NPS would receive a 192-acre buffer tract that would provide recreational opportunities and preservation and protection of resources at the Blue Ridge Parkway
We believe that this exchange, which has been underway for several years, would be facilitated and hastened through passage of S. 1767 or H.R. 1121, authorizing bills that establish clear expectations for both the Town and the NPS regarding the exchange process.
When the House Resources Committee considered H.R. 1121 on July 9, 2009, the committee adopted amendments recommended by the Department to allow the acreage amounts in the bill to be adjusted to equalize land values and to provide a three-year time frame for the exchange.H.R. 1121, as amended, passed the House on July 27, 2009.The changes made to the H.R. 1121 are reflected in S. 1767.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement.I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.