Discover / Manhattan Project Historic Sites
Save a National Treasure
REGION: West
LOCATION:
Washington, New Mexico, Tennessee,
TYPE: Building
The electrical substation at Hanford, WA, a Manhattan Project site. | Photo: National Trust
The electrical substation at Hanford, WA, a Manhattan Project site. | Photo: National Trust
Opportunity
Establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Overview

The Manhattan Project marked one of the most transformative events in world history: the development of the atomic bombs that ended World War II and set the stage for the Cold War. While the initiative’s early focus was weapons based, additional applications for nuclear energy were later developed, leading to advances in the newly-emergent fields of chemotherapy, high-speed computer technology, genomics, and bioengineering.

National Significance

The Manhattan Project’s three primary sites – Los Alamos, NM; Hanford, WA; and Oak Ridge, TN – speak eloquently to the project’s enormous scale and the frantic, round-the-clock effort required to create an atomic weapon ahead of the enemy. These three locations were central to the mission of the Manhattan Project, and have been selected by the National Park Service as historic sites that would comprise the proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Campaign Goals

  • Partner with the Department of Energy and local officials to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Ways To Help

Encourage your members of Congress to co-sponsor legislation that would create the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Donate to our campaign to protect Manhattan Project sites.

Tell us why Manhattan Project sites matter to you.

Posted on July 08, 2014
Photo Credit: Great Beyond (via flickr)
Photo Credit: Great Beyond (via flickr)

Jessica Pumphrey Written by Jessica Pumphrey, Team Member

Last Friday, the Seattle Times published an opinion piece by poet and former Hanford engineer, Kathleen Flenniken, which spoke to the importance of preserving the three Manhattan Project sites.  In the piece, Kathleen shares her experience living just outside of the Hanford community and growing up in a place where two-thirds of the nation’s nuclear arsenal was manufactured in secret.

You can read more of Kathleen’s article here.

Please check back often for additional updates on Manhattan Project Historic Sites.  Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on June 23, 2014

The Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Reservation has posted a video which relays the construction and the history of the K-25 Site.



Please check back often for additional updates on the Manhattan Project Historic Sites. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on January 07, 2014

On June 14th, the House of Representatives voted to include the Manhattan Project National Historical Park as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In late November, a coalition of senators led by Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray proposed including Manhattan Project legislation in the Senate’s version of the bill. Considered “must pass” legislation, the Senate found itself confronted with addressing a total of 507 separate amendments which were proposed for inclusion in NDAA. Majority Leader Harry Reid had hoped decisions on defense authorization would be completed by the Thanksgiving holiday, but the process was greatly slowed by changes in Filibuster Rules.

On December 9th, the Senate passed the defense bill, but without the provisions necessary to include the Manhattan Project. With four working days remaining in the session, Congressional leaders “ping-ponged” defense authorization between the chambers, uniting in a desire to have legislation reach President Obama’s desk before year’s end.

It was “disappointing” to see the measure fail, but it was the closest the legislative effort has ever come to becoming law, said Heather McClenahan, executive director of the Los Alamos Historical Society. McClenahan noted that there is bicameral, bipartisan support for the park, and that Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA), who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, has said he will attach legislation to 2014’s defense bill.

Posted on July 26, 2013

On July 25th, during a Senate Energy and Natural Reources Committe hearing, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell requested immediate action be taken to create the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis attended the hearing. When asked if Congress, due to the current economic climate, should halt the establishment of new national parks, Jarvis replied, " My theory on new units is that history doesn't stop just because you have an economic challenge. The National Park Service has been challenged and charged by this body for almost 100 years to take care of not only the extraordinary - the crown jewels such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite - but also historical sites that are representative of the full American experience. And that story is incomplete." Additional information is provided below:

Today during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) called for immediate action to preserve Hanford’s B Reactor as part of a new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Cantwell said that a backlog in National Park Service maintenance should not stop the creation of a new park at Hanford. Cantwell sponsored the bipartisan Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act (S. 507) that would preserve Hanford’s B Reactor as part of a new National Historical Park. The bipartisan legislation is led by Cantwell and ENR Committee member Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tom Udall (D-NM) are original cosponsors of the bill, along with ENR Committee member Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

 During today’s hearing, Cantwell also noted how National Parks can attract tourism and support economic development. The Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau estimates that B Reactor tourism will bring more than $1 million to the local economy in direct visitor spending annually. “Do I think we should stop creating national parks because of what somebody thinks about the maintenance backlog? No,” said Cantwell during the hearing. “I want to commemorate what happened at Hanford and various parts of what we’ve done across the country. I certainly am not going to have the attitude that we’re not going to do any new park until the maintenance backlog is caught up.”

In response to a question from Cantwell about preserving the B Reactor, National Parks Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said: “My theory on new units is that history doesn’t stop just because you have an economic challenge. The National Park Service has been challenged and charged by this body for almost 100 years to take care of not only the extraordinary -- the crown jewels such as the Grand Canyon and the Grand Tetons, and Yosemite -- but also historical sites that are representative of the full American experience. And that story is incomplete,” Jarvis continued. “The B Reactor is a perfect example of that, in that it tells an incredibly important story about this country and its leadership and the development of the atomic bomb and its role in ending World War II.”

The S. 507 bill would create a National Historical Park at Manhattan Project-related sites at Hanford as well as Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Los Alamos, N.M. The Hanford sites that would be included in the new park include the historic B Reactor, the first full-scale nuclear reactor ever built. A National Historical Park designation would give Hanford sites the same status as Independence Hall, Valley Forge and Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA-04), Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, oversees the committee of jurisdiction on the House side and has introduced similar legislation (H.R. 1208).

“Mr. Chairman, I also want to thank Senator Cantwell for bringing up the Manhattan proposed park,” said Senator Heinrich at today’s hearing. “I think that’s something that I heard consistently from the community of Los Alamos and the surrounding communities, how important that is to their history. I think Director Jarvis will find a very willing partner in those communities to make sure that we do a good job of stewarding that resource and making sure the Park Services has the resources they need and the support they in the community to create that new park unit.”

Cantwell introduced the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act earlier this year with Senators Alexander (R-TN), Heinrich (D-NM), Murray (D-WA) and Udall (D-NM). The bill would create a National Historical Park at Manhattan Project-related sites such as Hanford’s B Reactor as well as Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Los Alamos, N.M. A National Historical Park designation would give Hanford sites the same status as Independence Hall, Valley Forge and Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved the legislation by voice vote on May 16. It is now ready for consideration by the full Senate. On June 14, the House approved amendments authored by Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA-04) to establish a Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Since 2003, Cantwell, Patty Murray (D-WA) and Hastings have advocated for the historic preservation of Hanford’s B Reactor. In 2004, they championed legislation into law directing the National Park Service to conduct a study on the potential for developing and utilizing the B Reactor and other Manhattan Project facilities as historical sites. That study, finalized in 2011, laid the groundwork for today’s effort to preserve the B Reactor.

 Highlights from today’s hearing follows.

Senator Maria Cantwell: My colleague Senator Alexander and I have been sponsors of the creation of a new park for the B Reactor. It’s celebrating scientific excellence that our country achieved and preserving that between the Department of Energy and the department. Do I think we should stop creating national parks because what somebody thinks about the maintenance backlog? No. I want to commemorate what happened at Hanford and various parts of what we’ve done across the country. I certainly am not going to have the attitude that we’re not going to do any new park until the maintenance backlog is caught up. And so I guess I just believe our generation’s challenge is to be good stewards. These are our decisions forever and ever. These are our decisions to be good stewards for the next generation.  So I would hope you comment on: (1) the continuation of the B Reactor Park, and (2) the economic impact that we are seeing from sequestration on our national parks and what else we can do to help our colleagues illuminate that it really will impact jobs and impact small-town economies across our country.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Honorable Jonathan B. Jarvis: My theory on new units is that history doesn’t stop just because you have an economic challenge. The National Park Service has been challenged and charged by this body for almost 100 years to take care of not only the extraordinary the crown jewels such as the Grand Canyon and the Grand Tetons, and Yosemite, but also historical sites that are representative of the full American experience. And that story is incomplete. The B Reactor is a perfect example of that, in that it tells an incredibly important story about this country and its leadership and the development of the atomic bomb and its role in ending World War II. It is the same thing with Harriet Tubman or the story of Fort Monroe in Virginia. Now, what’s different about these new sites is that the National Park Service goes into it knowing we have extraordinary economic challenges, so we look for partners. And certainly with the B Reactor, we have the Department of Energy, we have the communities and others to work with us. We go in and attempt to minimize the direct responsibilities of the National Park Service that would add to our maintenance backlog, but recognize we also want to be a part of the stories that tell the American experience.

 Cantwell: Mr. Sherman, my time is expired, but I want to point out last time I visited Grand Teton I was so surprised walking down the street how little English I heard being spoken. We think of these as our crown jewels, but this is an international tourist area that supposedly generates $436 million of benefit to the local economy. So these are huge economic resources. I hope that we will track as a committee these gateway communities, the local economic impact of what sequestration is doing. I think we have to be very smart about living within our means but as you pointed out sequestration’s impact is across the board, and not giving you the flexibility to do something that might have less impact on those local communities. I thank the Chairman. I thank Director Jarvis.

Senator Ron Wyden: I would also note, by way of doing a little advertising as well, that Senator Cantwell’s bill on the B Reactor is right now part of the hotline underway. Senator Cantwell’s bill, and Chairman Doc Hastings, and Senator Alexander, and Senator Heinrich, so urge all colleagues on both sides of the aisle to clear this very fine piece of legislation.

 Senator Martin Heinrich:  Mr. Chairman, I also want to thank Senator Cantwell for bringing up the Manhattan proposed park. I think that’s something that I heard consistently from the community of Los Alamos and the surrounding communities, how important that is to their history. I think Director Jarvis will find a very willing partner in those communities to make sure that we do a good job of stewarding that resource and making sure the Park Services has the resources they need and the support they in the community to create that new park unit. I want to thank Senator Cantwell for bringing up the issue of just how important these recreation jobs are. In New Mexico it is not inconsequential to have 68,000 jobs tied directly to outdoor recreation, and certainly the impact of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque. Places like Bandelier, next to Bandelier National Monument next to Los Alamos, these are major draws to people across the country and around the world that come to New Mexico and drive our local economy.

 

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Ray Smith, Oak Ridge, Tenn. on August 02, 2012
It’s hard to imagine an entire city [Oak Ridge] existing in secret. 60,000 acres set aside for one, top-secret purpose. A discovery so huge it could end a World War. It’s hard to imagine – but it’s true.

Campaign Overview

Funds Secured:
$ 79,000
Fundraising Goal: $ 156,000
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