This program was established to encourage and support voluntary conservation of sites that illustrate the nation’s (U.S.) geological and biological history. Land acquisition by the Federal Government is not that goal of this program; NNLs are owned by a variety of land stewards, and participation in the program is voluntary. NNLs are selected for their outstanding condition, illustrative value, rarity, diversity, or value to science and the education. Designation is made by the Secretary of the Interior after in-depth scientific study; all new designations must have owner permission. The National Park Service administers the program.
Aunu’u is a geological, ecological and cultural gem. The island itself is a volcanic crater about a mile in diameter. If features one of the only freshwater marshes in American Samoa and is home to the traditional village of Aunu’u. You can walk the several miles of dirt roads, or just take in the quietness of the area. To access the island, located one mile off shore from Tutuila, drive the coast road east to Auasi Village and take the ferry. The trip costs about $2.00 per person and runs every day except Sunday. The boats usually run about every hour, but make sure to ask the captain when the last trip back will be. If the weather is very rough, the boats will no run.
This site located at the extreme western tip of the island of Tutuila is only accessible with permission from Amanave Village. Cape Taputapu offers the best illustration in American Samoa of wave action on older massive volcanic activity. This leaves a rugged coastline with rock outcrops and picturesque beaches.
Currently surrounded by a coconut plantation, the crater is one of very fre examples of the most recent episodes of volcanism in American Samoa. To venture into the crater, drive west on the Ili’ili Road and turn left at the Turtle & Shark sign at Vaitogi. Drive 1.1 miles and keep to the right as the forks, In 0.1 miles turn right towards the ocean by the village bell (old air tank). In another 200 yards, park at the “Turtle & Shark Legend” sign. From here hike 1.3 miles along the rough road. The road forks in about 1 mile, keep right. Watch your step as the trial drops into the crater.
Matafao is the highest peak on Tutuila Island. Rising 2142 feet above sea level, it is one of five great masses of volcanic rocks extruded as molten magma during major episodes of volcanism. There is a trail to the top and contact a local guide to make this challenging trek.
Ia an unsurpassed example of several gigantic volcanic plus associated with as many as five eruptions on Tutuila Island. Rainmaker is know locally as “Pioa” in Samoan and is a landmark on the Pago Pago Harbor skyline.
Known as “Sliding Rock” to the locals, this landmark is located on the southern shoe of Tutuila. The shoreline is a rugged and spectacular exposure of basaltic rock creating a remarkable ecological environment with fractures and pools. To visit “Sliding Rock” drive west on Route 001 and take the first left turn after the “Welcome to Leone” sign. Drive 1.1 miles to the shoreline just south of Taputimu Village. Drive an additional tenth of a mile to a small pullout.
This site consists of both land and water where erosion has sculpted steep and scenically spectacular cliffs in the rocks of a huge and massive volcanic plug. Located on the north central coast of Tutuila adjacent to Vatia Village, the best place to view the strait is from the scenic pullout on the road between Afono and Vatia Villages.
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