likely to Tule Lake National Monument
not official yet, but get ready to see some new signs and
Legislation to change the name from the Tule Lake Unit of
the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument to
Tule Lake National Monument has passed the House and Senate
and now awaits an expected signature of approval from
President Donald Trump.
was something we hoped would happen,” said Angela Sutton,
acting superintendent for the Tule Lake Unit and Lava Beds
National Monument. She said no formal steps will be taken
until Trump acts on the bill.
Lake’s name re-designation is a small part of the
broad-sweeping, 260-page Senate Bill 47 National Resources
Management Act that was easily approved by bipartisan votes
— 92 to 8 in the Senate on Feb. 12 and 363 to 62 on Feb. 26
in the House of Representatives.
bill was approved by all California representatives,
including Reps. Doug LaMalfa and Tom McClintock, both
Republicans from far northern California, and all Oregon
representatives, including Rep. Greg Walden, whose district
California senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and
both Oregon senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, supported
Tule Lake Unit of the WWII Valor in the Pacific National
Monument was established through executive action by
President George W. Bush shortly before he left office in
2008. The park is scattered with most of its nine units in
Hawaii and Alaska. When the presidential order was
announced, Tule Lake was reportedly a late addition.
Tule Lake Unit includes the Tule Lake Segregation Center and
Tule Lake Segregation Center is located near Newell. It
spanned 7,400 acres and included a large infrastructure that
included more than a thousand barracks plus other buildings.
peak, more than 18,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of
them U.S. citizens, were incarcerated at Tule Lake while
another 1,800 soldiers plus teachers, nurses and other
personnel staffed the facility.
Lake, which opened in 1942 and closed in 1946, was the
largest and most controversial of 10 sites. Originally a
relocation center, Tule Lake became the nation’s only
segregation and housed people branded “disloyal.”
Tulelake, five miles of the city of Tulelake, was originally
a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. During WWII, Japanese
Americans were housed at the camp two different times — in
1943 after some Tule Lake men refused to answer the
controversial “loyalty” questionnaire and, later, when
internees from others camps were housed there to help
Italian prisoners of war helped convert Camp Tulelake to
accommodate German prisoner of war camp. At its peak, the
camp housed 800 German POWs who helped plant, tend and
harvest onions and potatoes.
Camp Tulelake and the stockade, one of the few remaining
structures at Tule Lake, are open for ranger-led tours
during the summer months.
management plan for the Tule Lake Unit was completed last
year. It provides long-term guidance for the area’s
management with key issues including a year-around National
Park Service presence, preservation of remaining historic
buildings, and developing partnerships with local and
regional groups and organizations. The plan, notably, does
not recommend boundary adjustments.
with waiting for the president’s approval of the
legislation, Sutton said no steps toward a name and
management change will be made until later because Lava
Beds/Tule Lake Superintendent Larry Whalon is on leave.
Anticipated changes will include redoing signs, bulletins
and documents. Although Lava Beds/Tule Lake managers were
aware of the proposed re-designation legislation, she said,
“We haven’t ever discussed it (the name change) as a team.”
Shortly after the Tule Lake Unit was established in late
2008, efforts to become its own national monument have
of it,” Sutton explained, “was the day-to-day overseeing of
the operations,” noting the distance between units in the
WWII Valor National Monument. “While our stories are
connected, they are also different.”
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