It’s official! On March 18, 2022, the Amache National Historic Site Act was signed into law, authorizing Amache National Historic Site to be established. Two processes occurred simultaneously, the first was a Special Resource Study to determine whether Amache qualified for such a designation, and the second was legislation to authorize designation.
Special Resource Study
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.
A 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)?
In-person and virtual public meetings were held in 2020 and 2021. Many Amache survivors and descendants and Granada and Colorado residents provided testimony, as well as others interested in preserving this important piece of American history.
Amache National Historic Site Act
Given the strong evidence that Amache meets all of the criteria for the Special Resource Study, bills were introduced into the House and Senate to add Amache as a new National Historic Site. H.R.2497 was introduced on April 14, 2021, and companion bill S.1284 was introduced on April 21, 2021. The bill passed through the House Natural Resources Committee on July 14, 2021 and passed in the House of Represerntatives 416-2 on July 29, 2021. It then passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Nov 18, 2021 and passed the full Senate by unanimous consent on February 14, 2022. The House of Representatives quickly approved the Senate amendments, also by unanimous consent, on Feb 18, 2022. The bill was signed by President Biden on March 18, 2022. Lands still need to be acquired for full designation, but that process has begun. There is already an official Amache National Historic Site page.