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.
The U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program (NRDA Restoration Program) manages the confluence of the technical, ecological, biological, legal, and economic disciplines and coordinates the efforts of six bureaus and four other offices within DOI to accomplish the mission. The NRDA Restoration Program has a nationwide presence encompassing nearly the full span of natural and cultural resources for which the Secretary of the Interior has trust responsibility and authority.
Each bureau has its unique natural resource trusteeship and brings its expertise to bear on relevant sites. The NRDA Restoration Program is a truly integrated Department-wide program, drawing upon the interdisciplinary strengths of its various bureaus and offices. The five bureaus with Natural resource trust responsibilities include:
The Bureau of Indian Affairs administers and manages over 55 million acres of surface land 57 million acres of subsurface mineral estate held in trust by the United States for American Indians, Indian Tribes, and Alaska Natives and provides assistance to 565 federally recognized tribal governments to help protect water, natural and cultural resources, and land rights.
The Bureau of Land Management administers 245 million acres of surface land and 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate, located primarily in 12 western states, sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of these public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The Bureau of Reclamation working primarily in the 17 Western States, manages nearly 7.1 million acres of land and easements associated with water reclamation projects to protect local economies by providing electrical power and irrigation water and preserving natural resources and ecosystems through the management and effective use of water resources.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conserves, protects, and enhances fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats and manages the 150-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System for the continuing benefit of the American public, providing trusteeship for migratory birds, anadromous fish, certain marine mammals and most threatened and endangered species.
The National Park Service preserves the unimpaired natural and cultural resources and values of the 84-million-acre national park system and conserves the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife of the park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of current and future generations.
In addition to the five trustee bureaus above, other bureaus and offices within the DOI play key roles in making the NRDA Restoration Program a fully integrated DOI program. The Office of Policy Analysis provides economic analytical expertise to the NRDA Restoration Program at both the national policy and the individual case management levels. The Office of the Solicitor provides legal advice and counsel. The U.S. Geological Survey provides technical scientific support. The Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance provides a link to emergency response and remedial activities associated with oil or hazardous substance releases. The Office of Insular Affairs provides advice in certain U.S. Caribbean and Pacific jurisdictions.