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 America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass covers recreation opportunities on public lands managed by four Department of the Interior agencies – the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation, and by the Department of Agriculture's U.S. Forest Service.
The new pass program was created by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, which Congress authorized in December 2004 and replaces the Golden Eagle, Golden Age, and the Golden Access Passports as well as the National Parks Pass. Existing passes will remain valid until expired.
Access to most public lands remains free. The pass applies to those locations that currently have entrance or standard amenity fees.
There are four different passes in the new interagency program; the most common is the Annual Interagency Pass costs $80. The pass offers unlimited coverage of entrance and standard amenity recreation fees for a specific period of time, typically a year, beginning from the month of purchase.
U.S. citizens 62 or older can purchase a $10 lifetime Senior Pass and citizens with permanent disabilities can receive a free lifetime Access Pass.
The Volunteer Pass is for volunteers who accumulate 500 hours of service.
One hundred percent of the revenue derived from passes sold at federal recreation sites will directly benefit the selling agency and no less than 80 percent of the revenue will remain at the site where the pass was sold.
Some specific examples of projects funded with fee revenues include: rehabilitating the Yellowstone National Park Canyon Visitor Center and creating new exhibits at Yellowstone National Park, enhancing boat launch facilities on the Tonto National Forest in Arizona, building an accessible boardwalk at Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest in Wyoming, and improving the museum at Desoto National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa.