TULELAKE, Calif. – The Tule Lake Unit is receiving a facelift.
In its continued effort to protect and preserve the historic landscape that once made up the Tule Lake Segregation Center in Newell, Calif., the National Park Service is replacing some non-historic chain link security fencing that has deteriorated to the point of coming apart. If this continues, the safety of these historically significant buildings will be compromised.
As the new site is still under development, it is imperative that these valuable assets are protected until full time staffing is in place, and the site is developed properly so visitors can safely enjoy it, according to the National Park Service.
The Tule Lake Segregation Center was built in 1942 on Bureau of Reclamation lands near what is now Newell. It was constructed to imprison, at its peak, over 18,000 people of Japanese ancestry. The vast majority were U.S. citizens. The Tule Lake Unit recognizes the loss of civil rights endured by these incarcerees and the strength they had to protest their treatment, and is listed as a National Historic Landmark.
The Tule Lake Unit was designated in 2008 by President George W. Bush as part of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The new site includes three parcels. The only one receiving new fencing is the small, 37-acre plot along California State Route 139, which encompasses the historic jail.
The project will replace 2,675 lineal feet of deteriorated non-historic chain-link security fence and will include a new gate. The fencing will begin at the historic fence along State Route 139, turn right at County Road 113, and turn right again to return to the historic fence. No historic fence will be impacted.
The National Park Service hopes to continue improving the site, although permanent funding for the site is limited. Staff are currently working on a long-range plan for site development, reflecting input provided from the public at 33 public scoping meetings over the past two years.
The Tule Lake Unit of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is a nationally significant site dedicated to telling the story of the cost of war on the home front and the lasting effects of the unjust incarceration of over 29,000 U.S. citizens and long-term residents of Japanese ancestry at the Tule Lake Segregation Center.