The following is a press release from the National Park Service.
INDEPENDENCE, CALIFORNIA — Centennial funding combined with funds from the Friends of Manzanar will be used to restore historic vegetation at the Manzanar Auditorium which now serves as the site’s Interpretive Center. Completion of the is project will allow visitors who enter the camp auditorium through the historic west entrance to experience it in much the same way internees did over 60 years ago.
“We are excited to be working closely with the Friends of Manzanar on this site restoration project and to be included in the first round of funding for the Centennial Initiative. We will be working closely with the Friends on fund-raising for our next Centennial project, the reconstruction of barracks at the demonstration block, a much larger project which we hope will be funded in the next round of projects in 2009,” said Superintendent Tom Leatherman.
National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar said, “With the nearly $25 million Congress has appropriated and nearly $27 million of matching commitments from our park partners, the Centennial Initiative today moves onto the landscape and into people’s lives. It’s a great day for the National Park Service and a great day for the Friends of Manzanar at Manzanar National Historic Site.”
The National Park Centennial Initiative is a 10-year program to reinvigorate America’s national parks and prepare them for a second century. The initiative includes a focus on increased funding for park operations plus a President’s Challenge: up to $100 million a year in federal funds to match $100 million a year in philanthropic donations to the National Park Service.
“This is how we put our Centennial goals on the ground and it’s quite a beginning,” Bomar said. “We have 110 programs and projects involving more than 130 individual, public and non-profit partners benefitting 76 national park in 38 states and the District of Columbia.”
The project at Manzanar will include replanting historic vegetation following guidelines provided in the park’s Cultural Landscape Report. Work will take place in the late summer and fall and will be completed in time for the Pilgrimage next year. The Friends of Manzanar, who are providing half of the funds for this project, will also begin raising funds for the reconstruction of buildings in one of the residential blocks on the site. The preservation and restoration of buildings and features provides visitors with opportunities to experience the living conditions of the internees and are critical in understanding these events in American history.
The National Park Centennial Initiative provides a framework for the National Park Service to engage the public in its mission. Its goals and strategies will embrace new constituents and gain support from a broad array of public and private partners to ensure America’s national parks continue to thrive into the next 100 years.
Centennial Challenge programs and projects for 2008 elsewhere in the United States include: Lewis and Clark National Historical Park where park rangers and staff will adopt the Class of 2016, today’s fourth-graders, and bring them into the park for special programs several times a year until they graduate from high school. Upgraded and new interpretive trails at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore and other parks. Restoration of ancient redwood forest and watershed in Redwood National Park. Creation of the Institute at the Golden Gate to Advance Preservation and Global Stability, Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco. New or expanded Junior Ranger programs at many national parks. Expansion of ranger interpretation at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the George Washington Memorial Parkway with new technology including podcasts and videocasts.
For a complete list of the 2008 National Park Service Centennial Challenge projects and programs please visit http://www.nps.gov/2016. For more information on Manzanar National Historic Site, please visit the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/manz or call (760) 878-2194.
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