President Biden Establishes Colorado’s Amache National Historic Site as America’s Newest National Park

by Taylor Cunningham

On Friday, President Joe Biden signed legislation to designate the Colorado Amache National Historic site as America’s newest national park.

“As a nation, we must face the wrongs of our past in order to build a more just and equitable future,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “I applaud President Biden and the bipartisan action in Congress that has ensured this important and painful chapter in our nation’s story is preserved and honored for the generations to come.”

During World War II, the United States government forcibly detained Japanese Americans living on the West Coast under Executive Order 9066. And from 1942 to 1945, 10,000 of those people lived inside Amache. The site was one of ten that the War Relocation Authority built during that time.

“It is our solemn responsibility as caretakers of America’s national treasures to tell the whole story of our nation’s heritage for the benefit of present and future generations,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said. “The National Park Service will continue working closely with key stakeholders dedicated to the preservation of Amache.”

At its height, 7,310 Japanese Americans lived inside the camp at one time. two-thrids of those people were U.S. citizens.

Biden’s Designation Will Preseve the History of Colorado’s Newest National Park

Under Biden’s designation, the National Park System will permanently preserve the Amache National Historic site to immortalize the unjust incarceration for generations to come.

“I have waited many, many years to see the day where we can be certain that Amache — as a place of reflection, remembrance, honor, and healing — is protected for our current and future generations,” said Bob Fuchigami, who moved to the camp when he was 11 years old. “My parents did not live to see this day. The time is not only right; it is long overdue.”

In all, Franklin Roosevelt’s EO imprisoned 120,000 Americans with Japanese heritage after the attack on Pearl Harbor. And Amache is the first internment site to join the park system.

As of today, Amache covers 600-acres, which sit about a mile outside Granada, CO. Inside, visitors can visit a historic cemetery and concrete building foundations. They can also tour reconstructed and rehabilitated structures.

On May 18, 1994, the government listed the site on the National Register of Historic Places. And on February 10, 2006, officials designated it a National Historic Landmark.

“Our nation is better today because of the lessons we have learned from our past. The Amache National Historic Site Act is important because it recognizes the horrible injustices committed against Japanese Americans. And [it] preserves the site for people throughout Colorado and the United States,” said Congressman Ken Buck, who co-sponsored the effort.