Friday, June 14, 2013
TULE LAKE, Calif. — Japanese Americans living on the West Coast were forcibly removed and incarcerated in remote camps during World War II without being charged of any crime. The National Park Service is seeking public comment to develop a management plan for one of those internment camps.
Japanese families from the Hood River Valley were relocated to Tule Lake during the internment. Their input, and input from others affected by this government action, is being sought.
Bringing this chapter of our nation’s history to light in a meaningful and comprehensive way is the challenge facing the National Park Service at the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument in northern California.
The National Park Service will hold public workshops from June through September to open a national dialogue about Tule Lake’s future. This dialogue will result in a general management plan which identifies how to effectively protect the site and educate the public about this chapter in American history.
The Tule Lake Unit preserves the site of the Tule Lake Segregation Center, which was one of 10 camps where 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. Designated in 2008 by President George W. Bush, the purpose of the Tule Lake Unit is to preserve, study and interpret the history and setting of the incarceration of Japanese Americans at Tule Lake during World War II.
Between 1942 and 1946, more than 29,000 people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated there, and it was the largest population center in California north of Sacramento. Two-thirds of those incarcerated at Tule Lake were U.S. citizens.
“The NPS is honored to be charged with telling and preserving such a challenging story for the American people,” said Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the Tule Lake Unit and Lava Beds National Monuments. “Public involvement in the planning for the Tule Lake Unit will make the new unit a group effort. Working together will help the story become relevant to more people, so it will never be forgotten.”
The National Park Service will hold 15 public workshops at locations in California, Oregon and Washington. Two virtual meetings will be held in September. This is an opportunity to learn about the Tule Lake Unit, raise issues, provide ideas and help define the future of the Tule Lake Unit.
These meetings represent the “scoping” stage for the general management plan for the Tule Lake Unit. Anyone interested in attending is welcome.
Current information relevant to the GMP for the Tule Lake Unit is available at www.nps.gov/tule/
The public comment period will close on Oct. 11. Comments can be sent to tule_superintendent@nps
Meetings are slated to take place across the West Coast through mid-September. A virtual meeting web conference will be offered for those unable to attend gatherings on Sept. 24 from 3-5 p.m. The virtual meeting web access information will be posted on the Tule Lake websites and Facebook page.
Hood River and Portland meetings are scheduled as follows:
n July 1, 6-8 p.m., Portland Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, 121 N.W. Second Ave., Portland.
n July 2, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Hood River County Library, 502 State St., Hood River.
For more information about visiting the Tule Lake Unit of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, call 530-260-0537, or email tule_interpretation @nps.gov, or go to nps.gov/tule.
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Kiteboarders in action during the pro competition Friday at the 16th Annual Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest in Stevenson. All photos by Ben Mitchell. Enlarge