Discover History in Guam’s National Parks

TUMON, Guam, October 3, 2006 – Guam offers visitors a treasure trove of military history along with lush natural beauty and rich Chamorro traditions. The essence of Guam’s military past and its unique tropical ecosystem can be experienced at its two U.S. National Parks: the War in the Pacific National Historic Park and the Guam National Wildlife Refuge.

War in the Pacific National Historic Park Just days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces landed on Guam and occupied it until U.S. forces re-captured it in 1944. The War in the Pacific National Historic Park commemorates the bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers and the Guam residents who lost their lives during the war.

The park is comprised of seven historically significant sites on the island and a total of 1,000 offshore acres of ocean where submerged WWII military vessels and artifacts rest on the ocean floor. The remains of caves, Japanese fortifications, pillboxes, and gun emplacements stand throughout the park as silent reminders of the fierce battles that took place on the island.

Must see attractions at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park include several memorials to those who died or suffered during the Japanese occupation of the island and the ensuing battle for liberation. A memorial wall at Asan Bay Overlook bears 16,142 names which include the American soldiers who died on Guam and the names of Chamorros who suffered the hardships of war through injury, forced labor, and internment.

There is also the Sons of Guam Pearl Harbor Memorial. This memorial honors the Chamorro men who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In addition, Liberator’s Memorial commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam. This monument honors the armed forces that participated in the 1944 landing on Guam.

For scuba and snorkeling enthusiasts, the park’s waters contain over 3,500 marine species and 200 species of coral, including the endangered hawksbill sea turtle and the threatened green sea turtle.

The park’s attractions are open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information about the War in the Pacific National Historic Park, call (671) 477-7278 ext. 1002.

Guam National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1993 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Guam National Wildlife Refuge provides an essential habitat for the regeneration of native plants and animals, including the restoration of native forests for the reintroduction of Guam’s native birds and the conservation of Guam’s fragile
coral reef resources. The ultimate mission of the preserve is to bring
back the indigenous plants, fish and wildlife of Guam that sustained the early Chamorro people of Litekjan, the ancient village which once stood where the refuge is now located. A large Chamorro settlement thrived on this site some 600 years before the Spanish arrived in 1521.

Located on the northwest corner of the island, in the military-owned area now called Ritidian Unit, this unique refuge is a combination of expansive beaches, native limestone forests, coral reefs dense with marine life, towering limestone cliffs, as well as caves with ancient pictographs and other archaeological resources.

The refuge provides habitat for the last remaining populations of the Mariana fruit bat, and Mariana crow. It also protects the Serianthes nelsonii tree, one of the largest native trees in the Mariana Islands which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Hundreds of fish species are found in the 401 acres of refuge reefs, including vibrantly colored anemonefishes, damselfishes, spinecheeks, and butterflyfishes.

Visitors to Guam are welcome to participate in natural and cultural history programs led by National Fish and Wildlife Service staff. The Guam National Wildlife Refuge is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday, except holidays. Admittance is free of charge.

For more information about the Guam National Wildlife Refuge, call the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service at (671) 355-5096 or visit:
http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/wnwr/guamnwrindex.html

ABOUT GUAM

Situated in the Western Pacific, Guam is known as the gateway to Micronesia and provides a range of exciting activities that are complementary to its closest island neighbors. A trip to Guam can encompass many activities, including diving in the Marianas Trench, the deepest water in the world; snorkeling in amazingly diverse coral reef areas; jungle trekking to secluded beaches, historic sites and pristine waterfalls; sea kayaking the coast and swimming with the dolphins and experiencing the rich Chamorro culture and warm hospitality that is distinctly Guam. Guam also offers top-level golf courses designed by golfing greats such as Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Sam Snead. The island also has a pleasing selection of Asian, European and Chamorro-influenced dining establishments, luxury resorts and moderately priced hotels.

To learn more about Guam visit http://www.visitguam.org.

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