National Park Service Announces America’s Newest National Park

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The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that southeastern Colorado’s Amache National Historic Site is officially the country’s newest national park.

During World War II, Amache was one of 10 sites where thousands of Japanese Americans were detained and imprisoned.

The Town of Granada, located one mile away, acquired and donated the necessary land for establishment of the national park, reported The Denver Post.

The Amache National Historic Site Act was signed by President Joe Biden in March of 2022 — the first National Park System designation of the Biden-Harris administration, a press release from NPS said. The now formally established park will help ensure the painful history of Japanese American incarceration in the United States is not forgotten.

“As a nation, we must face the wrongs of our past in order to build a more just and equitable future. The Interior Department has the tremendous honor of stewarding America’s public lands and natural and cultural resources to tell a complete and honest story of our nation’s history,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who visited Amache in February 2022, in the press release.

February 19 was the annual Day of Remembrance of Japanese Incarceration During World War II.

The War Relocation Authority established Amache, formally known as the Granada War Relocation Center, during the war for the purpose of detaining Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from the U.S. West Coast under Executive Order 9066. From 1942 to 1945 Amache incarcerated more than 10,000 people. At its peak, the detention center housed 7,310 incarcerees — two-thirds were U.S. citizens.

There are already six national parks that were established to preserve and interpret this disturbing chapter of America’s history.

“Amache’s addition to the National Park System is a reminder that a complete account of the nation’s history must include our dark chapters of injustice,” said Chuck Sams, NPS director, in the press release. “To heal and grow as a nation we need to reflect on past mistakes, make amends, and strive to form a more perfect union.”

Over the decades, the historic building foundations and roads of Amache have been preserved by incarceration survivors and their descendants, as well as by the Amache Preservation Society, the Town of Granada and other organizations, individuals and institutions. The site currently consists of a monument, historic cemetery, network of roads, concrete building foundations and several restored and reconstructed World War II-era structures, including a recreation hall, water tank, barrack and guard tower. Amache was designated as a National Historic Landmark in February of 2006 and listed by the National Register of Historic Places in May of 1994.

The groups will continue to expand the public awareness and scholarship surrounding Amache’s history in cooperation with NPS.

The Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program is also administered by NPS. Since 2009, the park service has given more than $41 million to educational institutions; Tribal, state and local governments; nonprofits; and other public entities, funding 302 projects across the country. Recipients of the grants combine federal monies with their own personal resources to develop partnerships preserving, identifying and interpreting important sites and stories.

“Today’s establishment of the Amache National Historic Site will help preserve and honor this important and painful chapter in our nation’s story for future generations,” Haaland said.

This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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