Report to the President:
Japanese-American Internment Sites Preservation
Background: Manzanar was the first of 10 centers established pursuant to Executive Order 9066, which authorized the Secretary of War to exclude citizens and aliens from certain designated areas as a security measure against sabotage and espionage.
Current Status/Interpretation: All 10 centers were assessed by NPS in the mid-1980's and Manzanar was determined to be the best preserved and have the greatest potential as a national park unit. Prior to becoming a national park unit, Manzanar was designated California Historic Landmark No. 850 in 1972, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.
Manzanar is protected and will be interpreted as Manzanar National Historic Site established by P.L. 102-248 in 1992. The legislation states that the Historic Site is intended to "provide for the protection and interpretation of historical, cultural, and natural resources associated with the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II...." Manzanar is intended to preserve and interpret a representative War Relocation Center as an aspect of the nation's Pacific Campaign of World War II.
The general management plan (GMP), approved in 1997, calls for the site to be managed as a cultural landscape based on the World War II relocation center period. Visitors would be served by converting the historic auditorium into an interpretive center, providing an initial point of contact to inform the visitor about the site through a series of displays and presentations. The camp road system and some of the rock gardens and ponds would be rehabilitated. Some original barracks and other structures in the vicinity would be relocated to the site and rehabilitated to enhance interpretation and visitor understanding of the camp experience. The location of residential blocks and significant structures would be marked to demonstrate the camp layout to the visitor. NPS support would be provided for the annual Manzanar pilgrimage (last Saturday of April), which would continue to occur in the vicinity of the cemetery. Cooperative agreements would be negotiated with the Bureau of Land Management and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to provide for wayside exhibits and interpretive tours of the reservoir area and other adjacent historic features.
Ongoing activities include a Save America's Treasures grant to restore the perimeter fence, historic entry sign and sentinel posts, repair selected masonry features, complete an interpretive auto tour road adjacent to fence; matching funds were provided through a California State grant. The Manzanar Historic Resource study is being put on the web. The NPS FY 2001 Appropriations include $5,124,000 to establish an Interpretive Center and Headquarters at Manzanar. Construction contracts are to be awarded in late 2001, and the Center is projected to be open to the public in early 2003. Manzanar WEB is http://www.nps.gov/manz.
Regional Context: This National Historic Site is located 5 miles South of Independence, California and contains 814 Federally owned acres. It is bordered on the East by US Highway 395, on the West by BLM, and on the North and South by the Los Angles Department of Water and Power.
NPS complete rehabilitation of the Manzanar Relocation Center Auditorium and open it to the public in early 2003 as the Manzanar National Historic Park Visitor Center with exhibits concentrating on the following primary interpretive themes: