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Manzanar shifting hours

New Hours for Manzanar Visitor Center

March 30, 2016

Beginning Friday, April 1, 2016, the Manzanar National Historic Site Visitor Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. The award-winning film Remembering Manzanar shows every 30 minutes from 10 am to 5 pm daily. The center features 8,000 square feet of exhibits as well as a bookstore operated by the non-profit Manzanar History Association.

After setting a record for visitation in 2015, I am pleased to announce that we will be keeping the visitor center open until 5:30 pm,” Superintendent Bernadette Johnson said.

­Visitors arriving between 9 and 10 a.m. can visit Block 14’s barracks and mess hall to learn about the personal experiences of individuals, families, and communities incarcerated at Manzanar. Exhibits feature extensive photos, documents, and quotes illustrating the challenges and changes people faced at Manzanar. Because the site itself is open from dawn to dusk, visitors can drive a 3-mile self-guiding tour or explore on foot. They can see a number of gardens and ponds built by Japanese Americans to beautify the dusty ground around their barracks and mess halls. Visitors can also explore century-old orchards from the pre-war town of Manzanar.

Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. Admission is free. For further information, please call (760) 878-2194 ext. 3310, visit our website at www.nps.gov/manz, or explore our pages for “ManzanarNationalHistoricSite” on Facebook and Instagram.

cover photo by Gary Young

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Manzanar, Can You Dig it!

Volunteers Invited to Archeology project at Manzanar

Project runs March 25-30

submitted by Manzanar Historic Site
March 15, 2016

Manzanar’s award-winning public archeology program provides exceptional opportunities to learn about the past and help preserve the site and its stories for the future. From March 25 through 30, 2016, volunteers have the unique opportunity to assist the National Park Service in uncovering and stabilizing Manzanar’s historic administration and staff housing area. Participants will learn about both the common and contrasting experiences of camp staff and incarcerees as well as the differences between Japanese landscaping aesthetics and “western” military-style landscaping.

Volunteer positions are available to anyone age 15 and over who is physically able to work outdoors in moderately strenuous activities. Volunteers will be digging with shovels and small hand tools, cutting and loading brush, using wheelbarrows, collecting rocks to reconstruct landscape features, painting rock alignments, and occasionally screening sediments to retrieve artifacts. Previous archeological experience is helpful, but not necessary. All volunteers need is an interest in history and a willingness to get dirty!

The work will be conducted outdoors, regardless of weather, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, including weekends. Volunteers may work any number of days or hours, but a full day or multiple days are preferred. Bring water, lunch, and work gloves, and wear sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy boots. Advance sign-up is required. Contact Cultural Resources Manager Jeff Burton at 760-878-2194 ext. 3305 or jeff_burton@nps.gov.

Manzanar National Historic Site is located is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. Learn more on our website at website at www.nps.gov/manz or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.

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Manzanar Pilgramage sets Keynote Speaker

Educator, Author Dr. Cathy Irwin To Keynote 47th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

March 14, 2016
Submitted by the Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — Dr. Cathy Irwin, author of “Twice Orphaned: Voices from the Children’s Village of Manzanar,” will be the keynote speaker at the 47th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, scheduled for noon PDT on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on U.S. Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles.

Each year, over 1,000 people from diverse backgrounds, including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former incarcerees attend the Pilgrimage, which commemorates the unjust incarceration of over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in ten American concentration camps, and other confinement sites, located in the most desolate, isolated regions of the United States, during World War II. Manzanar was the first of the American concentration camps to be established.

The theme for this year’s Pilgrimage is “Kodomo No Tame Ni: For The Sake Of The Children – Liberty and Justice For All.”

An Associate Professor of Writing in the Department of English at the University of LaVerne, Dr. Irwin, who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in English at the University of Southern California, was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is a former editor of the literary magazine, “Prism Review,” and has published poems and several essays including, “Asian American Literature: Discourses and Pedagogies;” “Mixing It Up: Multiracial Subjects;” “Embodying Asian American Sexualities; and Completely Mixed Up;” and “Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art;” and “Completely Mixed Up: Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art.”

“We’re honored to have Dr. Irwin as our keynote speaker at this year’s Pilgrimage,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “The fact that young children were incarcerated in the Japanese American concentration camps shines an even brighter light on the unjust nature of the camps. Compounding that injustice, even orphans, 101 of them, were incarcerated, all of them in Children’s Village at Manzanar.”

Dr. Cathy Irwin (courtesy Dr. Cathy Irwin)

“Dr. Irwin’s 2008 book tells the moving and inspiring story of the orphans of Children’s Village, young children, including toddlers, who their country chose to lock up behind barbed wire,” added Embrey. “Today, too few know about the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, but even fewer know that orphans were also incarcerated. Their story is one that everyone should learn about as well.”

In addition to the afternoon event, the Manzanar At Dusk program follows that same evening, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, at the Lone Pine High School auditorium, located at 538 South Main Street (U.S. Highway 395), in Lone Pine, nine miles south of the Manzanar National Historic Site, across the street from McDonald’s.

Manzanar At Dusk is co-sponsored by the Nikkei Student Unions at California State University, Long Beach, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego.

Through a creative presentation, small group discussions and an open mic session, Manzanar At Dusk participants will have the opportunity to learn about the experiences of those incarcerated in the camps. Participants will also be able to interact with former incarcerees in attendance to hear their personal stories, to share their own experiences, and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.

The Manzanar Committee has also announced that bus transportation to the Pilgrimage from Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo is available.

The bus will depart at 7:00 AM, arriving at the Pilgrimage at approximately 11:30 AM, and will also take participants to the Visitor’s Center at the Manzanar National Historic Site following the afternoon program. The bus should arrive back in Los Angeles at approximately 8:30 PM.

Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The non-refundable fare is $40.00 per seat, $30.00 for students and seniors. Complimentary fares are available for those who were incarcerated at any of the former American concentration camps or other confinement sites during World War II.

Anyone wishing to attend the Manzanar At Dusk program that evening should make other transportation arrangements.

Pilgrimage participants are advised to bring their own lunch, drinks and snacks, as there are no facilities to purchase food at the Manzanar National Historic Site (restaurants and fast food outlets are located in Lone Pine and Independence, which are nearby). Water will be provided at the site.

Both the Manzanar Pilgrimage and the Manzanar At Dusk programs are free and are open to the public. For more information, or to reserve a seat on the bus, call (323) 662-5102 or send e-mail to 47thpilgrimage@manzanarcommittee.org.

The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site. For more information, send e-mail to info@manzanarcommittee.org, call (323) 662-5102, and check their blog at http://blog.manzanarcommittee.org.

cover photo by Gary Young

Manzanar California, Manzanar Committee, Manzanar Annual Pilgramage, Lone Pine California

BLM holding Alabama Hills Hikes

BLM hosting Interpretive Hikes in the Alabama Hills

submitted by the BLM
March 2, 2016

LONE PINE, Calif. -The Bureau of Land Management will host interpretive hikes in the Alabama Hills to discuss film history and view scenic arches in March.

An “Explore the Arches” hike will be held on two Saturdays, March 5 and 26. A “Film History in the Alabama Hills” hike will be held on two Sundays, March 6 and 20. For all the hikes, participants should meet at 10 a.m. at the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center, at the corner of Highway 395 and State Route 136 in Lone Pine, to carpool to the site. The driving time is about 10 minutes. Each hiker should carry at least one quart of water and dress in layered clothing for a range of temperatures and windy conditions.

“On the arches hike, you can learn about the geologic processes that shaped the hills. The hike includes Mobius, Heart, and Eye of the Alabama arches. You’ll also discover that there’s more to the Alabama Hills than just Movie Flat! The hike includes scenic vistas of the Sierra, Inyo Mountains and Owens Lake, plus a visit to a riparian zone in the heart of the hills,” said Dave Kirk, Alabama Hills steward for the BLM’s Bishop Field Office. The arches hike will take 2 ½ to three hours and requires a good fitness level. The hike is a loop about 3.5 miles in distance with some moderately strenuous sections. The entire hike is on trail and/or multi-use routes. Appropriate footwear is required.

“There have been more than 400 movies and countless commercials filmed in the Alabama Hills. On the film history hike, you will hear interesting and amusing stories about numerous productions as you explore the camera locations. This walk covers an area of Movie Flat that includes locations from memorable films such as “Gunga Din,” “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “Tremors” and “Django Unchained,’” said Kirk. The film history hike will take 1 to 1½ hours and is a relatively easy walk covering less than a mile.

For more information on interpretative hikes in the Alabama Hills, contact Dave Kirk via email at dmkirk@blm.gov, or the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center at (760) 876-6222.

Cover Photo by Gary Young.

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Alabama Hills Volunteer Day

Alabama Hills Volunteer Work Day Planned

LONE PINE, Calif. – The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and the Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office will sponsor a volunteer work day in the Alabama Hills on Feb. 13, the Saturday of the Presidents Day holiday weekend, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We will be performing trail construction and maintenance on the trail connecting Lone Pine and Whitney Portal,” said Dave Kirk, Alabama Hills steward for the Bishop Field Office. 

Participants should meet at the corner of Whitney Portal and Movie roads at 10 a.m. Please come prepared for outdoor work with gloves, hat and sunscreen. BLM will provide tools, trash bags and drinks. For further information, contact Kirk via email at dmkirk@blm.gov, or at (760) 876-6209.

Cover Photo by Gary Young

Lone Pine Alabama Hills, blm Bishop field office, Lone Pine California

Over 95,000 visit Manzanar in 2015

Manzanar Hosts Record number of Visitors in 2015

submitted by Manzanar National Historic Site

Over 95,000 people from throughout the United States and around the world visited Manzanar National Historic Site in 2015.  From near and far, youth and elders, first-time visitors and former incarcerees, all had a variety of opportunities to connect to the site, its stories, and each other.

“I’m happy to see so many people coming to learn about Manzanar,” Superintendent Bernadette Johnson said. “While the site is best known for its wartime history, its layers of the past echo the larger themes of American history, including the displacement of Native Americans, the settlement of ranchers and farmers, water wars, and the consequences of prejudice.” She continued, “These valuable lessons about social justice, racism and prejudice are critical.”

Manzanar’s 2015 visitation was nearly 23% higher than in 2014 and surpassed a 2009 record of 89,000. “Record visitation tests the site’s staffing capacity,” said Superintendent Johnson. “I’m grateful that we have a committed staff dedicated to providing high quality visitor experiences.”

In 2015, Manzanar opened  3,000 s.f. of new exhibits in two reconstructed barracks, hosted thousands of school children, and received more than 7,500 hours of service from 318 volunteers.
On a national level in 2016, Congress recently provided an increase in funding for national park units. Manzanar was the recipient of 2016 Centennial Challenge funding allowing the site to leverage these funds with donations from Friends of Manzanar and private donors to expand exhibits in Block 14. Congress is considering separate National Park Service Centennial legislation to further improve the national parks by encouraging philanthropy and volunteerism, while also allowing the National Park Service to improve visitor services and connect with a new generation of national park visitors.

Congress established Manzanar National Historic Site in 1992, the result of decades of efforts by Japanese Americans and others. Since then, the National Park Service has worked with scores of stakeholders to preserve and interpret Manzanar and its stories.  Visitors can explore the personal experiences of individuals, families, and communities incarcerated at Manzanar. The restored camp auditorium serves as a visitor center and houses extensive exhibits. Nearby, a World War II-era mess hall and two  reconstructed barracks highlight the challenges of daily life. An auto tour road circles the site, highlighting Japanese gardens, historic orchards, the cemetery, and more.

Manzanar is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. For more information, please call 760-878-2194 ext. 3310 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/manz or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.

Cover Photo by Gary Young.

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Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction Set

Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction Planned for 2016

Significant Impacts to Access, Parking

submitted by the Inyo National Forest

The Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction is planned for the 2016 season under a funding request from Inyo County. The road will be re-paved and needs significant repairs for safety. The project begins just west of Lone Pine and ends just east of Whitney Portal.

Whitney Portal is the most popular trailhead on the forest; with hikers applying, by lottery, to ascend the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. Mt Whitney is also the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail (JMT).

“There is no way to complete this project without having a significant impact on visitors to the Whitney Portal area,” said Ed Armenta, Forest Supervisor. “The road has only one ingress/egress and the already limited parking will be much reduced. Accessing the area may be, at times, difficult and frustrating. Your planning and patience will help complete this very important project.”

Visitors have long used roadside parking as an overflow. During construction near Whitney Portal, this roadside parking will not be available.

Construction delays will be up to three hours, twice a day. Visitors to Whitney Portal should anticipate that there may not be a parking space available.

Visitors to Whitney Portal should consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or shuttle services available from the Lone Pine area.

Visitors who want to hike Mt. Whitney are strongly encouraged to enter the lottery since walk-in permits will not be issued when parking is unavailable. Please apply via www.recreation.gov.

See the tips below  for planning your trip to Whitney Portal this year.

Accessing Whitney Portal: How To Make it Work
• If you do plan to visit Whitney in the summer of 2016, please pack your patience and carefully plan your trip to avoid the construction delays and the parking problems.

• Check the construction schedule before you head up to Whitney Portal (Twitter (@mtwhitneyinfo), at the Interagency Visitor Center (760-876-6222), on the web (http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5150055). There may be times when delays and parking are little impacted. There may be periods with 30 minute delays, and two 3-hour delays per day in the peak of construction.

• Please be prepared that there may not be a parking space available for you.

• Consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or explore local shuttle services.

• To help alleviate the problem of reduced parking, long-term parking will not be permitted. No overnight parking is available for anyone not starting and ending a hike at Whitney Portal. If you are entering or exiting the Whitney Trail via the Pacific Crest Trail, the High Sierra Trail, the JMT or other popular long-distance routes, you may not park or stage a vehicle at the trailhead.

• Long-term parking may be available in Lone Pine. Check with the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce (760) 876-4444).

• An alternative to parking and hiking from Whitney Portal is the National Recreation Trail that connects the Whitney Portal Campground and Lone Pine Campground to the trailhead. This is an additional four miles of hiking with an additional 2,400 ft. in elevation gain. Parking is allowed clear of the roadway.

• All permitted Whitney hikers will receive a day or overnight parking permit that must be displayed on their vehicle. Whitney overnight hikers with valid parking passes may park at Whitney Portal for a maximum of 3 nights, if space is available. No day-use parking will be allowed after 8:00 p.m.

• A limited number of well-signed parking spaces will be available for day-users to the Whitney Portal area who are not hiking to Mt. Whitney.

• Parked vehicles without the required permit, that overstay their limit, interfere with construction activities, or are unsafely parked will be towed.

• The Inyo National Forest will honor the efforts of people who apply via the lottery for a Whitney hike. People who want to hike Whitney in 2016 are strongly encouraged to use the lottery system for the hike (please apply via www.recreation.gov).

• Many people who apply via the lottery cannot make the hike for a variety of personal reasons and the forest has re-issued those permits to “walk-ins” at the visitor center the day before or the day of for interested hikers. These walk-ins may not be available in 2016.The forest intends to manage the limited parking, in part, by limiting the walk-in permits. If there is no parking, then the walk-in permits will not be issued, or a reduced number will be issued.

• People who plan to take advantage of the walk-in process need to understand this option may not be available this year, especially in the peak of the summer which will likely be when construction is underway near Whitney Portal.

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Fullerton Family crashes near Manzanar

Single Vehicle Crash Sends 3 to the hospital

The California Highway Patrol accident report indicates the drivers over-correction led to a single vehicle roll over Thursday.  The accident occurred just after 1pm Thursday, July 16th on highway 395 just south of the Manzanar National Historic site.  The accident report indicates that 31 year old Fullerton resident Michael Leon Jr was behind the wheel of a 2007 Toyota southbound on highway 395 at approximately 70 mile per hour.  The vehicle drifted onto the left dirt shoulder when the driver over-corrected to the right losing control of the vehicle which then overturned at least one time.

Michael Leon Jr and a 7 year old female passenger where properly restrained and were able to exit the vehicle with the assistance of a passing motorist.  Both suffered minor injuries and where transported to Lone Pines Southern Inyo Hospital.  58 year old passenger Michael Leon Sr had to be removed from the vehicle by paramedics.  Leon Sr was also wearing his seat belt.  Leon Sr suffered moderate injures and was transported via Mercy Air to Kern Regional Hospital.  The collision remains under investigation.

Agencies responding to the crash included the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Independence Volunteer Fire Department, Lone Pine Volunteer Fire Department, California Highway Patrol and CalFIRE.

cover photo by the Inyo County Sheriffs Department.

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