A Different Kind of National Park
A Journey into Hidden America
Say National Park and you are likely to think of places like Glacier, Yellowstone or Zion.
But there are urban settings as well, places like New York, Lowell, Paterson and Detroit. And, how about the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park.
But there is a truly unique national park that may be unfamiliar to you: the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
The park, commemorating the Manhattan Project that is run jointly by the National Park Service and Department of Energy. The park consists of three units: one in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, one in Los Alamos, New Mexico and one in Hanford, Washington. It was established on November 10, 2015 when Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz signed the memorandum of agreement that defined the roles that the two agencies had when managing the park.
The Department of Energy had owned and managed most of the properties located within the three different sites. For over ten years, the DoE worked with the National Park Service and federal, state and local governments and agencies with the intention of turning places of importance into a National Historical Park. After several years of surveying the three sites and five other possible alternatives, the two agencies officially recommended a historical park be established in Hanford, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge. The Department of Energy would continue to manage and own the sites while the National Park Service would provide interpretive services, visitor centers and park rangers. After two unsuccessful attempts at passing a bill in Congress authorizing the park in 2012 and 2013, the House and Senate ultimately passed the bill in December 2014, with President Obama signing the National Defense Authorization Act shortly thereafter which authorized the Manhattan Project National Historical Park
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