Absolutely incredible park that deserves a world of recognition. The Visitor Center is located just past downtown Pago Pago on the second floor of a rather unassuming building. Myself and two friends (fellow National Park enthusiasts) arrived in Pago Pago on Thursday, December 20th, 2018. We knew we had to make it our mission to visit the Visitor Center the following day (Friday, December 21st) for two reasons: The Visitor Center isn't open on weekends and the government was shutting down at midnight on 12/21. Thank goodness we made it to this Visitor Center located on the remote island of American Samoa in time!
Ranger Ronald was quick to greet us as we walked up the stairs. I was so, so happy to have made it to this park as I am on quite a quest to visit all of the designated National Parks in the United States. And, even though this one is located in a US Territory below the equator, it is still 1 of 60 National Parks I need to visit! Ranger Ronald gave us a bit of a tour of the Visitor Center and showed us all around, explaining the Samoan culture and history along the way. I could tell he was passionate about his job and culture and he really seemed to love sharing it with us. Even though the other Park staff were in a meeting about the impending shutdown, Ranger Ronald was so attentive to us!
In addition to Ranger Ronald, there were two other aspects that made my experience at the Visitor Center so memorable. The first was the Park Staff's effort in getting us in contact with a gentleman named Peter who resides on the beautiful island of Aunu'u. We first heard about Peter when we checked into our hotel (Sadie's by the Sea) and mentioned we were interested in visiting Aunu'u and that were in American Samoa because of the National Park. It was the staff at the National Park Visitor Center who finally connected us with Peter and we arranged an outing to Aunu'u with Peter for the following day. Thank you so much for your help in establishing this connection! The second memorable experience was the incredible presentation of my Junior Ranger badge. Nearly all of the Park Staff congratulated me on becoming a Junior Ranger and presented me with a certificate! I was so surprised. This would have been an absolutely amazing park to commemorate all of my National Park visits had I saved it for #60. Alas, as my 34th Park, my experience here set the bar very, very high for the rest of my Park visits!!!
Moving on to the National Park of American Samoa, the area was designated a National Park in 1988 in order to protect the fruit bats, Samoan culture and way of life, the tropical rain forest, and the pristine coral reef. We hiked four trails that are maintained by the National Park Service - three on the island of Tutuila and one on Ofu (island in Manu'a). The first three we actually did in one day with my favorite trail, hands down, being the Lower Sauma Ridge Trail. It was short and steep but offered the most breathtaking views I have ever seen in my life.
I could go on and on but just know - I've been to 34 National Parks and I'll be visiting 26 more and rest assured, my experiences in the National Park of American Samoa make it one of my all-time favorites. Thank you to the park employees and people of American Samoa for maintaining such an incredible place.
Review by MatthewL1 year ago
This is an excellent park in the heart of a little town. If you're not paying attention you can easily pass it by. The entrance is small but they have put a flag outside of the building in order to bring your attention to the entrance. When you go upstairs you will be greeted by the most welcoming friendliest staff that I've ever experienced when going to a national Park. I got the impression that there are a lot of summer interns working there but there were two full-time uniformed employees (rangers I believe) that were extremely helpful. The exhibits were nice practically brand new and provided a really good exclamation of the Polynesian culture in that region of the world as well as a video about WWII. In the gift shop they had T-shirts for sale, postcards for sale, passport books for sale, pins and other unique souvenirs. The uniform employee who was at the gift shop gave me the cancellation stamp and she stamped my passport book with perfection this was a real treat and a great addition to my trip and Pago Pago. I highly recommend you visiting this national Park visitor Center on your trip and I will definitely be visiting the center on my next trip.
National Park of American Samoa is rated 5.0 based on
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Parks in Pago Pago, American Samoa
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