The US Officially Has A New National Park

The US officially has a new national park. Amache National Historic Site near Granada, Colorado, has officially joined the likes of Yellowstone and Yosemite, the National Park Service announced last week. 

Amache – also known as the Granada Relocation Center – has a dark past, having been one of 10 incarceration sites established by the War Relocation Authority during World War II to imprison Japanese Americans. Over 10,000 people, mostly American citizens, were detained at Amache from 1942 to 1945. At its peak, the site housed 7,310 incarcerees, making it the tenth largest city in Colorado at the time.

The site has now become the seventh national park established to preserve this unsavory chapter of American history, following the Town of Granada’s acquisition and donation of the land needed to establish the site into a park.

“As a nation, we must face the wrongs of our past in order to build a more just and equitable future,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement. “[The] 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.”

In March 2022, Amache became a National Historic Site, as President Biden assigned the area to the National Park System, making it the first such designation of the Biden-Harris administration. Prior to this, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, and made a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

After it closed in 1945, Amache’s original buildings were removed or demolished. However, it remains one of the most intact examples of a World War II incarceration site in the US. As well as building foundations and the historic road network, which are still visible today, the area is home to a historic cemetery, a monument, and several structures from the World War II era including a barrack, recreation hall, guard tower, and water tank.

It is thanks to the efforts of the Town of Granada,the AmachePreservation Society,formerincarcereesand their descendants, and other individuals and organizations that the site is so well preserved and can help expand public awareness of Amache’s significance.

The announcement that the site is now formally established as a national park came days before the Day of Remembrance of Japanese Incarceration During World War II, observed on February 19 every year.

“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,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said. “To heal and grow as a nation we need to reflect on past mistakes, make amends, and strive to form a more perfect union.”

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