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Northwest News Network

Federal Agencies To Officially Establish Manhattan Project National Historical Park

An aerial view of the Hanford B-Reactor site in June, 1944. An agreement establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park will be signed in November.
An aerial view of the Hanford B-Reactor site in June, 1944. An agreement establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park will be signed in November.

On November 10, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Interior will enter into an agreement establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

In many ways this will be a different sort of national park: It will be co-run by the two agencies and span three sites in three states: Hanford in Washington, Oak Ridge in Tennessee and Los Alamos in New Mexico. These are the places that made the two bombs dropped on Japan during World War II.

The agreement will hammer out many of the details of how the park will interpret and preserve history at the sites. Some critics have argued that the Department of Energy shouldn’t be allowed to write its own history for the public.

A National Parks spokesman said the federal government is capable of tackling this complex and controversial history, as it has done at other sensitive sites recording the Civil War and Native American massacres.

The full parks won’t be born right away, but some of the sites including Hanford are already hosting special public tours.

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