Office of Environmental Management

DOE, National Park Service Mark Manhattan Project Park’s First Year

November 30, 2016

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Shown here are the remains of Hanford High School, built in 1916 in the town of Hanford. It is one of many attractions at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Shown here are the remains of Hanford High School, built in 1916 in the town of Hanford. It is one of many attractions at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

At left, people in Oak Ridge celebrate the Manhattan Project Historical National Park's launch in November 2015. Some in the crowd hold signs and newspapers marking the park's opening like residents did in 1945 when World War II ended (at right).

At left, people in Oak Ridge celebrate the Manhattan Project Historical National Park's launch in November 2015. Some in the crowd hold signs and newspapers marking the park's opening like residents did in 1945 when World War II ended (at right).

A present-day photo of the Pond Cabin at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Built in 1914, it was used to support plutonium chemistry research.

A present-day photo of the Pond Cabin at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Built in 1914, it was used to support plutonium chemistry research.

WASHINGTON, D.C. DOE and the National Park Service (NPS) have made considerable progress in their inaugural year managing the national park commemorating the Manhattan Project.

   “Everyone involved with the park from DOE, the National Park Service, and our community partners has put a lot of work into the Manhattan Project National Historical Park over the past year and it shows. The Office of Legacy Management is excited to join the team and we’re looking forward to contributing to its continuing success,” DOE Office of Legacy Management Acting Director Thomas Pauling said.

   Established on Nov. 10, 2015, the park consists of facilities at three sites — Hanford, Wash., Oak Ridge, Tenn. and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico — that played key roles in the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II. This park tells the story about the people, events, science, and engineering that led to the creation of the atomic bomb, which helped end World War II.

   Since the park’s inception, DOE and NPS have installed visitor contact stations in all three communities. Each location is interpreted, broadening the public’s access to the Manhattan Project story. DOE and NPS formed partnerships with organizations supporting the park, and the influx of thousands of park visitors benefits the local economies.

   DOE recently made its Office of Legacy Management responsible for park management. This month, DOE named Tracy Atkins its principal representative for the park and NPS named Kris Kirby as the permanent superintendent.

   First-year accomplishments at the park units include:

Hanford 

  • Eliminating the age requirement for all park facilities and increasing tour seats by 40 percent to 14,000.
  • Working with partners to enable recreational opportunities inside the park for the first time, including a full-scale choral concert and 20-mile bike ride.
  • Piloting an agreement with a riverboat cruise company to bring its own buses to B Reactor and hire Hanford trained guides, resulting in more visitors at no government cost.

Oak Ridge

  • Expanding Oak Ridge Reservation facility access for park interpretive events, including the Secrecy, Security and Spies Education Program at the DOE Historical Gatehouses, Bike Tours on DOE Greenways and special tours for Girl Scouts and Girls, Inc. at the X-10 Graphite Reactor.
  • Doubling the days for bus tours to more than 120 days a year. 

Los Alamos

  • Forming an agreement between NPS and the National Nuclear Security Administration for historic preservation work on park and park-eligible buildings.
  • Finalizing smartphone apps to support park interpretations at Los Alamos park properties.
  • Sampling for industrial hygiene at properties for worker access and historic preservation work in park and park-eligible buildings.