Manzanar National Historic Site

About the Park

In 1942, the United States government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children to leave their homes and detained them in remote, military-style camps. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II. Manzanar National Historic Site was established to preserve the stories of the internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II and to serve as a reminder to this and future generations of the fragility of American civil liberties.

Manzanar National Historic Site

Manzanar National Historic Site, as a member of the Pacific West Region, is involved in the first regional effort in the National Park Service to become carbon neutral. The Region has developed a vision of having all of its park operations becoming carbon neutral and becoming members of the Climate Friendly Parks Program by 2010.

At Manzanar National Historic Site, increasing temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns may alter park ecosystems, change vegetation communities, habitats available for species, and the experience visitors have at the park. Manzanar is located in the Owens Valley in California, where water has been, and continues to be a critical resource. The Valley, and the city of Los Angeles, relies heavily on the spring runoff from the Sierra Nevada mountain range for drinking water, agriculture, and recreation.  Climate change related impacts to Sierra snowpack and water resource availability have the potential to significantly impact Manzanar National Historic Site, as well as the rest of Owens Valley and Southern California.

This Action Plan identifies steps that Manzanar National Historic Site can undertake to reduce GHG emissions and mitigate its impact on climate change. The plan presents the park’s emission reduction goals, and associated reduction actions to achieve the park’s goals. Strategies and action plan items were developed by working groups at the Mojave Desert and Mediterranean Coast Climate Friendly Parks Workshop. 

Emissions Profile

GHG emissions result from the combustion of fossil fuels for transportation and energy (e.g., boilers, electricity generation), the decomposition of waste and other organic matter, and the volatilization or release of gases from various other sources (e.g., fertilizers and refrigerants). Manzanar is a small National Historic Site, with a historic auditorium that has been restored to house the park’s visitor center and staff offices.  Electricity generation is the main contributor of GHG emissions at the site, with visitor transportation representing a smaller portion of the overall emissions.

In 2008, GHG emissions within Manzanar National Historic Site totaled 294 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). This includes emissions from park operations and visitor activities, including vehicle use within the park. For perspective, a typical single family home in the U.S. produces approximately 12 MTCO2 per year (U.S. EPA, Greenhouse Gases Equivalencies Calculators – Calculations and References, Retrieved; Website: Thus, the combined emissions from park operations and visitor activities within the park are roughly equivalent to the emissions from the energy use of 25 households each year.

The largest source of emissions at Manzanar National Historic Site is from energy use, totaling 194 MTCO2E.  As the majority of Manzanar’s emissions result from energy use, most of the Park’s efforts will go towards reducing our electricity consumption. This can be accomplished mostly through new technologies, such as use of CFL’s and solar energy production in our Interpretive Center. Transportation is the next largest source of emissions, which can be reduced slightly with employee changes in personal and government vehicle use and by leasing vehicles from GSA with improved vehicle emissions technology.  However, visitor use emissions will take more study.

The graph below, taken from our Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2008 broken down into sectors.



Manzanar National Historic Site has committed to reduce GHG emissions from park operations energy use to 35 percent below 2008 levels by 2016.

To read more about what we are doing at Manzanar National Historic Site about Climate Change, check out our Action Plan