In 2019, as part of the “John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act“, Congress directed the National Park Service to conduct a Special Resource Study to determine whether Amache meets the criteria to become a new unit of the National Park System.
This is the first step to determine whether Amache qualifies for such a designation.
The Special Resource Study has four criteria that must be met:
- National Significance: Does the site contain nationally significant natural and/or cultural resources?
- Suitability: Does the site represent a natural or cultural resource that is not already adequately represented in the national park system or is not comparably represented and protected for public enjoyment by another land-managing entity?
- Feasibility: Is the site (1) of sufficient size and appropriate configuration to ensure long-term protection of the resources and visitor enjoyment, and (2) capable of efficient administration by the National Park Service at a reasonable cost; important feasibility factors include landownership, acquisition costs, life cycle maintenance costs, access, threats to the resource, and staff or development requirements?
- Need for NPS Management: Is direct NPS management required as clearly superior to management by other agencies or the private sector (e.g., continued management in perpetuity by Amache Preservation Society)?
If Amache is judged to be a site that only replicates the history of incarceration as already represented by other sites, it will not qualify.
The National Park Service held a series of public meetings to provide information about the process and hear from you how Amache enhances and expands the broader incarceration story. In person meetings were held in Granada, CO and Arvada (Denver), CO. Then, due to COVID-19, they switched to virtual public meetings. They are currently determining how best to proceed with the public comment period, and are continuing to seek written comments.
Please speak to the four criteria as you respond to the NPS five questions of interest:
- What is your vision for preserving Amache? How would you like to see the site managed? What types of activities and experiences do you want to see as part of Amache’s future?
- Do you have any ideas or concerns that the National Park Service should be aware of and/or address in the study process?
- What objects, buildings, remaining features, values and stories do you believe are most important and why?
- What do you think differentiates Amache from the other nine Japanese American incarceration camps?
- Do you have any other ideas or comments you would like to share with us?
You can also include additional thoughts beyond the five questions.
Comments must be received by December 15, 2020 to be considered part of the study.
AHSII created a special newsletter with more detailed information about how Amache may meet the criteria and the types of information you might consider submitting. They also held a virtual preparation session to review the four criteria for Amache to qualify as a new NPS site and how to make sure your responses to the five questions address those criteria and are most impactful. You can watch a recording of the presentation or view the slides.