The following is a press release from the National Park Service.
INDEPENDENCE, CA — On January 16, the National Park Service (NPS) announced that Colin Smith, currently the Chief Ranger at Olympic National Park in Washington, has been selected to serve as Acting Superintendent of Manzanar National Historic Site from late January through March, 2014. He will temporarily replace Les Inafuku, who retired from the NPS on January 3.
Smith has worked for the NPS since 1989. His previous permanent assignments, all in law enforcement, include Point Reyes National Seashore, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Canyonlands National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park. He also served as a seasonal Park Ranger at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and Devil’s Postpile National Monument.
Smith grew up in the Bay Area of California and is familiar with the Eastern Sierra. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Colorado.
“Manzanar is a unique park that sheds light on a tragic part of our country’s history,” he said. “I am impressed with how visitors connect to the site. I look forward to spending time in the Owens Valley and working with the staff to keep Manzanar operating smoothly until a new Superintendent arrives.”
Congress established Manzanar National Historic Site in 1992, the result of decades of grass-roots efforts by Japanese Americans and others. The National Park Service preserves the site and shares the stories of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans confined during World War II because of “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” More than 11,000 men, women, and children were confined at Manzanar, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens.
Nearly all of the 800 buildings that made up Manzanar War Relocation Center are gone—long since relocated to other areas or demolished—but the auditorium, stone sentry posts, cemetery monument, historic orchards, Japanese gardens, and foundations remain to evoke Manzanar’s past and its importance as a lesson for the future. More than 80,000 people visit the site each year.
A permanent Superintendent will be selected in the Spring.
For more information on Manzanar National Historic Site, please visit our web site at http://www.nps.gov/manz.
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