Flood Damages Manzanar Gardens, Closes Auto Tour Road

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A view of Merritt Park, looking west. (NPS photo)

Heavy summer rains the night of July 22-23 caused significant damage at Manzanar National Historic Site.

Shepherd Creek on the north side of Manzanar and Bairs Creek on the south jumped their banks, flooding the auto tour road and burying significant site features, including Merritt Park and gardens in Block 12 and Block 34.

National Park Service and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power staff are in the process of assessing the damage.

“The blessing of significant rainfall for this parched valley has also yielded an operational challenge for Manzanar,” said Superintendent Les Inafuku. “We’re thankful that our staff and local LADWP crews are safely working to survey the damage and prevent further flooding.”

The auto tour road and west boundary roads are closed until further notice, making the cemetery inaccessible by car.

The visitor center, which features 8,000 square feet of exhibits, an award-winning introductory film, and bookstore, remains open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. The restored World War II-era mess hall and two reconstructed barracks in Block 14 are also open.

Visitors who choose to explore Manzanar on foot should wear sturdy shoes, hats, sunscreen and carry water.

To learn more about Manzanar, visit www.nps.gov/manz or call (760) 878-2194, ext. 3310. Manzanar is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.

Manzanar’s auto tour road is flooded. (NPS photo)

Block 12 before the flood (above) and after (below). (NPS photos)

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