Colorado Governor Polis Calls for National Park Designation of Amache Site
DENVER– Governor Polis sent a letter calling on the National Park Service to support the inclusion of the former Amache Japanese Internment Camp Site near Grenada, Colorado into the National Park system. The National Park Service is currently evaluating the suitability for inclusion of the Amache site into the National Park system through a Special Resource Study. This study represents an early step in the process of designating this site as a National Park site, and was directed by congress via the 2019 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. The public may wish to provide public comment during this time, or participate in one of the upcoming public comment sessions that will be held by the National Park Service later this month.
“In Colorado, we are fortunate to have twelve national park units that we cherish not only because they ensure our natural wonders are preserved for future generations, but because they also ensure our national history and cultural experience are preserved as well, even when we are called to face dark times in our nation’s past,” said Governor Polis. “Preserving and protecting the Amache site presents a valuable opportunity to better our country, our state, our history and most importantly our future in the spirit of justice, equity and inclusion. It will allow us to interrogate our past, and understand a more complete story of our nation.”
The Amache site was one of ten illegal internment camps created during World War II, where Japanese Americans and assumed Japanese Americans were incarcerated without cause after having been forcibly removed from their homes, communities and daily lives. Amache was a unique site for many reasons, with the distinction of having the most Japanese Americans volunteer to enlist in the military, and in having a rare voice of opposition to the concentration camp in former Governor Ralph L. Carr. As the governor of Colorado at the time, Carr stood largely alone among Western political leaders by taking a strong and public stand against the mass incarceration.
Inclusions into the National Park system are done either by an act of congress or by the president, and the Special Resource Study will provide recommendations on those next steps. Should the study support congressional action, Governor Polis will work to support swift passage of designating legislation with the Colorado delegation. Governor Polis also previously expressed support for the inclusion of the Amache site into the National Park system in welcome remarks to the Mile High Japanese American Citizens League’s remembrance day ceremony in February.