National Park of American Samoa
When I found out that friends were on the way to Samoa I asked if they would send me a postcard, and here it is. How nice to see a warm tropical place in the middle of winter! Thanks so much, P & F.
The card is an Impact Photographics product and credits the picture to Tavita Togia, National Park Service (NPS). It has a short blurb on the reverse that says: “Pola Island in the National Park of American Samoa, is on the north coast of Tutuila Island and is an important nesting area for sea birds, such as the booby.”
In 1984 Congressman Fofó Iosefa Fiti Sunia introduced a bill to include American Samoa as part of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act. The Bat Preservers Association made the request and the purpose of the bill was to protect the rain forest and the habitat of the Flying fox, a large fruit bat. To control and eradicate invasive plants and animals that threaten the park’s ecosystem is the major role for the park. While the islands of Samoa are volcanic they are not made up of individual volcanoes but are composed of overlapping shield volcanoes that developed from a hot spot on the Pacific Plate.
Because land is traditionally held communally in Samoa, it was not possible for the NPS to purchase the property; instead the land was leased for 50 years to the Park Service from the village councils. In 2002 Congress approved a 30% expansion on Olosega and Ofu islands. These two islands can only be reached either by small fisherman boats or by air. In 2009 the park the visitor center and main office were destroyed by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
It was officially recognized as a National Park in 1988. The park is distributed across three islands, covering a total of 13,500 acres, and acts as a preserve for coral reefs, tropical rain forests, and fruit bats as well as Samoan culture. It offers activities such as hiking and snorkeling. More than 25,000 people visit the park annually. This is the only American National Park Service unit south of the equator.
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