To adjust the boundary of the Minidoka Internment National Monument to include the Nidoto Nai Yoni Memorial in Banbridge Island, Washington
STATEMENT OF DANIEL N. WENK, ACTING ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES, CONCERNING H.R. 5817 TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ADJUST THE BOUNDARY OF MINIDOKA INTERNMENT NATIONAL MONUMENT TO INCLUDE THE NIDOTO NAI YONI MEMORIAL IN BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WASHINGTON
September 28, 2006
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 5817, a bill to authorize the addition of the Nidoto Nai Yoni Memorial located on Bainbridge Island, Washington to the boundary of the Minidoka Internment National Monument located in the State of Idaho.
The Department supports enactment of H.R. 5817, which would implement the recommendation of the study that the National Park Service conducted in accordance with Public Law 107-363, the Bainbridge Island Japanese Memorial Study Act of 2002. However, the Department is concerned that this proposal could divert National Park Service resources that are needed for existing parks and programs. The National Park Service has placed a major priority on addressing maintenance and other needs at existing parks, and any funding needed for the proposed Bainbridge Island memorial would compete with these priorities. The Department recognizes that a large portion of the cost of the memorial would be assumed by non-Federal partners.
The term “Nidoto Nai Yoni” means “let it not happen again”. The memorial commemorates the Japanese Americans of Bainbridge Island, Washington who were the first group of the some 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to internment camps during World War II under Executive Order 9066. On the morning of March 30, 1942, 227 Bainbridge Island Nikkei were assembled at the Eagledale Ferry Dock on Bainbridge Island and transported to Seattle, where they were placed on a train that sent them to the Owens Valley Reception Center located at Manzanar, California. Most of the persons subsequently requested transfer to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho to join other Nikkei being sent there from Seattle, Portland, and other Pacific Northwest areas.
The addition of the Bainbridge Island Memorial to the Minidoka Internment National Monument makes this direct connection between the two sites, and provides the context of the overall story of internment, illustrating where the people came from and what happened to their lives after the end of the war.
The memorial site consists of approximately 8 acres of land in the City of Bainbridge Island, Washington. While becoming part of the Minidoka Internment National Monument, the Nidoto Nai Yoni Memorial will be managed and maintained through a partnership arrangement with other public and private entities. The legislation authorizes the National Park Service to enter into agreements with the City of Bainbridge Island; the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District; the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Memorial Committee; and the Bainbridge Island Historical Society. Through these partnership arrangements, costs of operating and maintaining the memorial will be shared. The onetime cost to the National Park Service for development would range from $350,000 to $400,000 for facility construction and interpretive media, using a 50/50 match with non-federal partners. Additionally, the National Park Service would contribute to the operational costs for the site by funding one permanent and up to three seasonal interpretive employees at an annual cost of up to $200,000 included in Minidoka Internment National Monument’s operating budget.
The principal role of the National Park Service at the Nidoto Nai Yoni Memorial site will be in the area of public interpretation and education. The NPS will endeavor to coordinate the development of interpretive and educational materials and programs for the memorial site to be integrated with the programs conducted at the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Idaho along with corresponding interpretive programs at the Manzanar National Historic Site.
Finally, the National Park Service has just completed a General Management Plan for the Minidoka Internment National Monument. The addition of the Nidoto Nai Yoni Memorial to the boundary of the national monument complements other recommended boundary modifications that are included in the final General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision. Some of these recommendations will require additional Congressional action, and we would happy to work with the committee to implement these recommendations separately from this legislation.
We would request that the bill be amended in Section 2 to provide for appropriate referencing of the official map for the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial. This amendment is attached for the committee’s consideration.
That concludes my testimony. I would be happy to answer any questions you or other members of the committee may have.
Proposed amendment to H.R. 5817
On page 2, strike lines 12 through 14 and insert “depicted on the map entitled ‘Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial’, numbered 194/80,003, and dated September, 2006.”