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.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDA Restoration) is the process used to determine whether public natural resources have been injured, destroyed, or lost as a result of a release of hazardous substances or oil and to identify actions and funds needed to restore such resources. NRDAR is authorized by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA). These statutes designate Federal, State and Tribal government officials to act as ‘trustees” on behalf of the public to recover damages from responsible parties to restore injured, destroyed, or lost natural resources. Damages can include money for trustee implementation of restoration actions and/or actual work undertaken by responsible parties with trustee oversight.
Every action the NRDA Restoration Program carries out is done with the goal of restoration in mind. The eventual restoration of injured natural resources drives the damage assessment process and provides the basis for the damage claim. Over ninety percent of all funds received from natural resource damage case settlements and judicial agreements are designated as restoration funds. After the development of a publicly-reviewed restoration plan, the Program and co-trustees implement restoration projects, often in partnership with non-governmental groups, local governments, or even the responsible party. Through these actions, injured natural resources and the services they provide are restored at the expense of the responsible party, not the taxpaying public.