Pacific Northwest Community-Led Recreation and Pacific Northwest Community-Led Recreation and
23 July 2024

Pacific Northwest Community-Led Recreation and Conservation Fellow

When thinking about what has happened within my fellowship with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program in the past several months, what immediately comes to mind is the sheer amount and range of site visits that I have been on. The first site visit was to the National Park Service Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park in Seattle, which I toured alongside another fellow working with the National Park Service. At the National Historic Park, I learned about the history of the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon Territory in Canada beginning in the 1870’s, and the role that Seattle merchants played as outfitters for those venturing off to try and strike gold. Due to this relationship to the gold rush as the passageway into the Yukon, Seattle gained a more worldwide renown.

The second site visit that I went on was to the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The memorial is a unit of the NPS Minidoka National Historic Site and is managed by the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association. The memorial stands at the Eagledale ferry dock landing site where Japanese American residents of Bainbridge Island were forcibly uprooted and sent to US concentration camps during World War II due to FDR’s Executive Order 9066 and Civilian Exclusion Order Number 1. The memorial features a wall extending down the path to the end of the ferry dock with all of the names and ages of the Japanese American Bainbridge Island residents and community members that were forcibly removed from their homes, not knowing when or if ever they would be able to return again. The phrase “Nidoto Nai Yoni” (“Let it not happen again”) is featured throughout the memorial as a testament for the United States government to never commit such atrocities again. serving as a reminder for the US Government to never let such injustices from occurring again.

The last site visit that I went on was during the mid-April Pacific West RTCA staff gathering in San Diego, CA to review new applications to the technical assistance program. Amidst application review sessions at Balboa Park with RTCA staff from across Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawai’i, we all had the opportunity to visit with an organization, Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek, which had received RTCA technical assistance. The organization partners with community members to implement sustainable physical environment projects, like helping to create sustainable community and neighborhood parks with climate resilient and non-invasive vegetation and green infrastructure. As a part of our site visit, we toured Groundwork’s EarthLab, an experimental educational space with a variety of plant life spanning 4 acres. We also visited sites impacted by the late-January Chollas Creek floods, which was exacerbated by the creek’s concrete-filled and narrow design, prone to overflowing and flooding during atmospheric river meteorological events like earlier this year.

Overall, these site visits helped me to gain a better understanding of the range of what National Parks sites can look like and of the transformative potential of RTCA projects.

MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

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