S. 2870

Amache Study Act

STATEMENT OF P. DANIEL SMITH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, EXERCISING THE AUTHORITY OF THE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, CONCERNING S. 2870, TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO CONDUCT A SPECIAL RESOURCE STUDY OF THE SITE KNOWN AS "AMACHE" IN THE STATE OF COLORADO.

AUGUST 15, 2018

Chairman Daines, Ranking Member King, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of the Interior's views on S. 2870 to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the site known as "Amache" in the State of Colorado.

The Department recognizes that Amache, also known as the Granada Relocation Center, would be an appropriate subject for a special resource study. However, we do not support enactment of S. 2870 at this time, as we are focusing resources on reducing the National Park Service's $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog and addressing other critical national park needs. In addition, the National Park Service has not yet completed 20 studies on other sites that Congress previously authorized to determine if these specific areas meet the appropriate criteria for designation as new park units, national heritage areas, national trails, or wild and scenic rivers.

This study authorized by this bill would determine whether Amache meets the statutory criteria for inclusion in the National Park System of national significance, suitability, and feasibility, and the need for National Park Service management. The study would also consider other alternatives for preservation, protection, and interpretation of the resources by the Federal government, State or local government entities, or private and non-profit entities. Alternatives might include, for example, the designation of the site as an affiliated area of the National Park Service, where the National Park Service would provide technical assistance to the site but not own or manage it. We estimate the cost of the study to range from $200,000 to $400,000, based on similar types of studies conducted in recent years.

Amache is located one mile outside Granada, in southeastern Colorado. During World War II, Amache was one of 10 major sites built by the War Relocation Authority to detain Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast of the United States under the terms of Executive Order 9066. Approximately 10,000 people of Japanese descent were detained in Amache while it was in operation. The town of Granada owns the site, and the Amache Preservation Society maintains it. Visitors can observe extensive structural remains and artifacts from the incarceration period as well as archeological evidence of land use around the site prior to World War II. Many of the concrete features contain inscriptions of dates and names of people who were incarcerated there.

Amache was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior on February 10, 2006. Two organizations, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Colorado Preservation, Inc., have used grants received through the National Park Service's Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program since 2006 to help preserve and interpret the resources at Amache.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.

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