National Park Service On Tule Lake Airport Fence: “We’ve Certainly Weighed In” On The Issue With FAA

Soji Kashiwagi of the Tule Lake Committee was one of several community members who railed against the proposed fence that would
enclose the airstrip at Tule Lake.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — On July 24, the National Park Service provided details and an update on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) proposed perimeter fence that would enclose the airstrip at the site of the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

At their public meeting in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo to gather community feedback on how Tule Lake should be managed over the next twenty years, Mike Reynolds, Superintendent, Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific and Lava Beds National Monument provided some background.

“It’s a public airstrip,” he said. “Modoc County leases the land to the City of Tulelake. It’s the City of Tulelake’s airstrip, so if we were all wealthy enough to own airplanes that are small enough, we could land there.”

“It’s an agricultural community,” he added. “The whole Tulelake and Klamath basin is primarily agricultural. The crop dusting business, which is critical to all that agriculture, is run out of that airport. 99 percent, or more, of the flights that take off are for crop dusting services. Spring, Summer and Fall, all day, sunrise to sunset, there’s little planes taking off every 15 to 30 minutes, providing crop dusting services.”

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National Park Service Is “At The Ground Floor” In Planning For Tule Lake

A former Tule Lake incarceree shared his
story during a National Park Service
meeting on July 24, 2013, in
Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — For the past five weeks, and continuing through September 19, 2013, National Park Service (NPS) staff have been and will be traveling up and down the West Coast, meeting with former Tule Lake incarcerees and others, collecting their feedback on how the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor In The Pacific National Monument should be developed and managed.

NPS staff began right around the site of the Tule Lake Segregation Center, with meetings in the towns of Tulelake and Klamath Falls, California, followed by meetings in Portland and Hood River, Oregon, and Auburn and Seattle, Washington.

Most recently, NPS staff was in the Los Angeles area, holding two meetings in Little Tokyo on July 24 and 27, with meetings in Carson on July 25, and in San Diego on July 26, in between.

“What we’re trying to do, being that Tule Lake is newly-established, we really want to get input from folks who want to help guide us, or give us advice on what Tule Lake, as a National Park Service unit, should look like,” said Mike Reynolds, Superintendent, Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor In The Pacific and Lava Beds National Monuments, following the July 24 meeting in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. “I thought tonight was a great meeting, because we got a lot of a good input.”

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Flood Damage At Manzanar NHS Could Have Been Much Worse

UPDATED with new photos of flood damage released on July 27, 2013. Manzanar’s auto tour road re-opened on July 29.


Flood waters from heavy thunderstorms in the Eastern Sierra mountains
to the west of Manzanar National Historic Site during the overnight
hours of July 22-23, 2013, reached Old Highway 395, which now serves
as a frontage road for Manzanar NHS.
NPS Photo/Jeff Burton

LOS ANGELES — After news spread of flood damage at Manzanar National Historic Site, the result of heavy thunderstorms on the night of July 22-23, 2013, there was concern, generated by photos posted on Facebook later that day, that the damage was much more extensive than the National Park Service had initially believed.

However, while the damage is significant, those fears have proven to be unfounded.

“The real fortunate thing is that it wasn’t a huge torrent that would’ve swept a person standing there away, where lives would’ve been lost, or pick up trucks would’ve been moved,” said Les Inafuku, Superintendent, Manzanar National Historic Site. “That did happen down south, in Olancha. Some people in a four-wheel drive [vehicle] were taken for a ride, two days prior [to the flooding at Manzanar].”

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Call To Action: STOP The Fence At Tule Lake

Over the last year, the Federal Aviation Administration has moved closer to building a fence to protect the airstrip at the site of the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument that would destroy the historic character of the site.

The Tule Lake Committee has launched a petition campaign to STOP The Fence At Tule Lake on Change.org and on Facebook.

Barbara Takei of the Tule Lake Committee writes:

The FAA proposes to construct a eight foot high, 16,000 foot long fence to close off the Tule Lake site, to protect the airstrip built on the campsite firebreak road. A “STOP the Fence at Tule Lake” Facebook campaign is being generated by Frank Abe and Lorna Fong; they’ve also started a petition on Change.org to let the chief of the FAA, Michael Huerta, of the opposition to the FAA’s fence proposal.

We need your help. For those of you who use Facebook, please SHARE it with your Facebook friends and urge them to sign the petition at https://www.facebook.com/StopTheFence.

If you don’t use Facebook, please forward the petition on to others in your address book; we want to generate a big response to let the director of the FAA, Michael Huerta, know how important this issue is to Japanese Americans and others who don’t want the history of Japanese Americans to be fenced off and destroyed.

Thanks for your help on this critically important issue.

The following statement by the Manzanar Committee was issued on June 2, 2012 (but not published on our blog until July 6, 2012). It is being re-published to provide background, as well as to reiterate our position on the issue.


A view down one of the streets of the Tule Lake
concentration camp,
November 3, 1942.
Photo: Francis Stewart
Photo courtesy Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

LOS ANGELES — On June 2, the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee announced its opposition to a proposed perimeter fence at the Tulelake Municipal Airport, operated by the County of Modoc.

The proposed fence would enclose the perimeter of the airport, which was part of the Tule Lake Segregation Center during World War II.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents, “…the purpose of this fence is to minimize the potential for aircraft-wildlife strikes (primarily deer), and minimize the potential for pedestrians and vehicles to inadvertently encroach on the airport’s runway (pedestrian-vehicle deviations).” Read more of this post