Beginning Feb. 12, the 3.2-mile road will be closed through April.
The Manzanar National Historic Site’s 3.2-mile auto tour road will be closed for paving beginning Feb. 12 through late April. Visitors can still explore the site on foot and/or drive to the camp cemetery via dirt roads on the north and west boundaries of the site.
The road’s current dirt surface has been subject to dust, erosion and occasional flooding through the years. The paving project will restore the road to its World War II-era appearance when the camp’s streets were hard surfaced. It will also improve access and safety, as well as help preserve historic resources by clearly delineating where visitors should drive. Paving the road also addresses deferred and future maintenance. Correcting low, flood-prone areas will eliminate annual grading and repairs.
“This project has been a long time coming, but there’s no better time than now,” said MNHS Superintendent Bernadette Johnson. “The number of people visiting Manzanar each year is increasing dramatically. We apologize for the inconvenience to visitors now, but this project will benefit site visitors for years to come.”
While Manzanar does not collect entrance fees, the paving project will be funded by entrance fees paid at other National Park Service sites around the country. S. T. Rhoades Inc. of Redding, Calif., a small business contractor, has been hired to complete the paving project using materials purchased from Owens Valley businesses.
While the road is completely closed, the visitor center will remain open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. It features extensive exhibits and a 22-minute introductory film, “Remembering Manzanar.” Admission is free. Nearby, a World War II-era mess hall, two reconstructed barracks and a latrine interpret the challenges of daily life. Visitors who choose to explore Manzanar on foot should wear sturdy shoes, hats, sunscreen and carry water.
For more information, call (760) 878-2194, ext. 3310, or visit www.nps.gov/manz. Manzanar is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.