Second Place, Magazine Photographer of the Year
Randy Olson, Freelance/National Geographic
Samoa National Park"
Approximately 2600 miles south of Hawaii and 1800 miles north of New Zealand is the location of the only American National Park in the Southern Hemisphere. Samoa is the birthplace of Polynesia and the park was established to protect their cultural heritage as well as the land and coral reefs. It is a delicate political dance to deal with the indigenous cultures. Park officials lease the land for the park because there is no private ownership of property on the islands. And although the goal is to protect the island, they cannot take away existing land use right from the Samoan people.