Summary of Public Open House Comments

Community Relations
  1. Many comments spoke to a desire to effectively link the new park with Manhattan Project-related resources outside the fence, including historic structures and districts as well as example houses (alphabet houses, etc.) that would provide visitors with a sense of what life was like in the three communities during the Manhattan Project.
  2. Commenters want to remain informed of park management activities, through contact lists, public meetings, etc.
  3. There are museums, societies, and organizations that would like to partner with the park in support of its mission, and have resources that could be brought to bear.
  1. Several comments identified (1) important contributions and (2) segregation and discrimination against African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans in the Manhattan Project workforce and surrounding communities as an important story that deserves attention in the park's interpretive programming.
  1. Displacement was also highlighted as an important topic for the park to incorporate into its interpretive program, with focus on both tribal and settler displacement.
Environmental Legacy
  1. Many comments from individuals and organizations want the park to incorporate the environmental legacy of the Manhattan Project into the interpretive program, from how the urgency of the WWII era relegated these issues to lower priority, and how these impacts continue to impact the environment in the present day.
  2. Commenters also noted that the level of understanding of environmental impacts was not what it is today, and that the Manhattan Project was hardly alone in this regard at the time.
  1. Comments related to the understanding of the history of the Manhattan Project were numerous and diverse. Highlighted topics to include in park interpretation include:
  • What the communities were like during the Manhattan Project era
  • The decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan
  • The scope, scale, and accomplishment of the Manhattan Project in a
  • Secrecy
  • Many key scientific contributors were refugees from other countries historical context, and how it shaped subsequent world history
  • Work done by contractors, both in direct MP contributions andconstructing the surrounding communities.
  1. Many comments advocated for including a specific perspective in the park's interpretive program, though at a high level, the consensus was a desire for the program to be balanced. Both the positive and negative aspects of the Manhattan Project should be given fair consideration.
  2. Commenters expressed concern that there are so many stories and perspectives that the park's interpretive program could lack focus.
  3. The complexities of the Manhattan Project (scientific, organizational, etc.) should beinterpreted to help make it more understandable for visitors.
  4. Several commenters noted that the park could leverage linkages with museums and other sites and groups in the local communities as well as in Japan to both avoid duplication of effort and broaden the interpretive program.
  5. The Manhattan Project should be connected to current events related to nuclear issues (e.g., Iran, North Korea).
  6. Develop phone apps, a park film, and interpretive waysides to help tell the stories.
  7. How will the park interpret the sites if (1) they are somewhat or completely inaccessible or (2) they have been demolished?
Park Management
  1. Commenters expressed concern that DOE would constrain the ability of the NPS to tell the story of the Manhattan Project
  2. There are many recreational amenities in the vicinity of each site, which could be incorporated or otherwise linked to the new park.
  3. Develop ways to guide visitors to MP sites located in the towns related to each site.
Resource Protection
  1. Manhattan Project structures are aging and deteriorating;they are in need of stabilization or restoration.
  2. Concern over structures outside of NPS/DOE jurisdiction. Could the park help preserve a sample "block" of MP-era housing?
Tribal Issues
  1. Several commenters brought up the issue of treaty rights that were broken with the establishment of the Hanford Site.
  2. Access to Rattlesnake Mountain at the Hanford Site, which is a sacred tribal site.
Visitor Access
  1. General concern was expressed over the ability of visitors to access the three sites in the park, due to ongoing national security-related activities and environmental remediation activities, as well as how visitors might move around when "behind the fence."
  2. How will planned and "unexpected" environmental remediation impact the ability of park visitors to access park resources?
Visitor Experience
  1. Collaborate with other attractions and recreational opportunities located nearby, including local parks, greenways National Parks (Bandelier, Valles, Obed River, etc.)
  2. Develop walking tours and bike tours to provide a sense of what the surrounding communities were like.

Last updated: May 26, 2016

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Mailing Address:

Manhattan Project National Historical Park
c/o NPS Intermountain Regional Office
P.O. Box 25287

Denver, CO 80225-0287


Hanford: 509.376.1647
Los Alamos: 505.661.6277
Oak Ridge: 865.482.1942

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