Office of Legacy Management

Manhattan Project National Historical Park Comes to LM

January 18, 2017

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NPS visitors of all ages can visit the B Reactor at the Hanford, Washington, site.
NPS visitors of all ages can visit the B Reactor at the Hanford, Washington, site.

In November 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) assigned its Office of Legacy Management (LM) with responsibilities for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MAPR- the four-letter identifier given by the National Park Service). “The Office of Legacy Management is excited to join the team and we’re looking forward to contributing to its continuing success,” LM Acting Director, Thomas Pauling, said.

Established November 10, 2015, MAPR is managed through a collaborative partnership by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and DOE to preserve, interpret, and facilitate access to key historic resources associated with the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was a massive national mobilization to produce a deployable atomic weapon during World War II. The project culminated with the United States dropping atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Coordinated by the U.S. Army, Manhattan Project activities were dispersed to numerous locations across the United States. MAPR incorporates three of the most significant Manhattan Project sites, each of which played an essential role: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington.

Manhattan Project National Historical Park, A-BOMB icon

NPS provides administration, interpretation, and education at the three park sites, and supplies technical assistance to support resource preservation. DOE performs management, operation, maintenance, and preservation for the historic Manhattan Project sites currently under its jurisdiction. The two agencies collaborate in identification and development of partnership arrangements and other strategies to tell the complete story of the Manhattan Project and its legacy.

“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,” observed Pauling. This past November, Tracy Atkins joined LM as the principal DOE representative for MAPR. NPS named Kris Kirby as the permanent park superintendent.

First-Year Accomplishments

Hanford

  • Eliminated the age requirement for access to all park facilities and increased available tour seating by 40 percent to 14,000 seats
  • Worked with partners to enable recreational opportunities inside the park for the first time, including a full-scale choral concert and 20-mile bike ride
  • Piloted an agreement with a local company to bring its own buses to B Reactor and hire Hanford-trained guides, resulting in more visitors at no additional government cost
NPS and DOE staff learn about the history of Y-12 during Oak Ridge, Tennessee, site tour.
NPS and DOE staff learn about the history of Y-12 during Oak Ridge, Tennessee, site tour.

Oak Ridge

  • Expanded 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
  • Doubled the days for bus tours to more than 120 days a year

Los Alamos

  • Formed an agreement between NPS and the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration for historic preservation work on park and park-eligible buildings
  • Finalized smartphone apps to support park interpretations at Los Alamos park properties
  • Sampled for industrial hygiene at properties for worker access and historic preservation work in park and park-eligible buildings
LM staff join a demonstration of a new app that supports interpretation of the Manhattan National Historical Park in Los Alamos.
LM staff join a demonstration of a new app that supports interpretation of theManhattan National Historical Park in Los Alamos.