Camp Amache National Park

Colorado’s Amache Internment Camp Officially Becomes Part of National Park System

DENVER, COLORADO — Colorado proudly welcomes the newest addition to the National Park System, the Amache National Historic Site, marking a significant moment in the nation’s ongoing journey to reckon with its historical injustices. This official inclusion, announced by the National Park Service on Thursday, follows a collaborative effort that saw the town of Granada donating the necessary land to make this designation possible.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, reflecting on this milestone, emphasized the importance of acknowledging the darker chapters of American history to forge a path toward a more equitable future. The designation of Amache as a national historic site aims to preserve the memory of the Japanese American internment during World War II, ensuring that the lessons from this painful period are not forgotten.

The bipartisan effort to secure Amache’s place within the National Park System was spearheaded by Colorado lawmakers, including Rep. Ken Buck and Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper. Their advocacy underscores the site’s profound significance as a symbol of the wrongs committed against Japanese Americans and the necessity of preserving such sites to educate future generations.

Amache, also known as the Granada Relocation Center, was one of ten internment camps where Japanese Americans were forcibly detained during the war. At its peak, it incarcerated over 7,300 individuals, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. The site has been meticulously preserved by the Amache Preservation Society and volunteers, including local high school students, making it a poignant reminder of the injustices borne by Japanese Americans.

Granada Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

The National Park Service, under the leadership of Director Chuck Sams, commits to working closely with survivors, descendants, and various groups to preserve Amache and enhance public understanding of its history. This effort aligns with the broader mission of the National Park Service to tell America’s story in all its complexity, including its moments of injustice.

Leave No Trace Tips for National Park Sites Like Camp Amache

Visiting sites like Amache National Historic Site offers a powerful reminder of our collective history and the importance of preserving these landscapes for future generations. Here are some Leave No Trace principles tailored for visiting national park sites with significant cultural and historical value:

  1. Respect Historical Significance: Recognize the gravity of the site you are visiting. Understand its history and the impact it has on present-day communities.

  2. Stay on Designated Paths: To protect historical artifacts and the integrity of the site, always stay on marked trails and paths. This helps prevent erosion and damage to potentially undiscovered artifacts.

  3. Leave Artifacts Undisturbed: If you encounter any artifacts or remnants, look with your eyes, not your hands. Removing or disturbing artifacts erases history and is illegal.

  4. Minimize Impact: Use existing facilities, such as visitor centers and restrooms, and follow all guidelines for trash disposal. Leave the site as you found it, ensuring that future visitors can have the same meaningful experience.

  5. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Keep noise to a minimum to allow for reflection and respect others’ experiences. Many visitors come to historic sites for personal and often profound reasons.

  6. Educate Yourself Before Visiting: Learn about the site’s history and its significance. Understanding the context of the place enhances your visit and fosters a deeper appreciation.

  7. Share Responsibly: When sharing your experience on social media or with others, be mindful of the site’s history. Encourage respectful visitation and engagement with the story it tells.

The inclusion of Amache National Historic Site in the National Park System is a testament to the ongoing efforts to acknowledge and learn from America’s history. As stewards of these lands and stories, visitors play a crucial role in ensuring that the lessons of the past remain vibrant and relevant for generations to come.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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