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New Tule Lake Unit fence is more than just a fence
  by LEE JUILLERAT, Herald and News 11/23/14

     Sometimes a fence is more than just a fence.

   Mike Reynolds, superintendent for the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and Lava Beds National Monument, said the National Park Service is replacing some nonhistoric chain link security fencing at the Tule Lake Segregation Center.

   He said the existing fencing is deteriorated so badly it’s nearly coming apart.

   “As the new site is still under development, it is imperative these valuable assets are protected until full-time staffing is in place and the site is developed properly so visitors can safely use it,” Reynolds said of the still-undeveloped segregation center.  

   He also emphasized the fence being replaced is not part of the Tulelake Airport, where Modoc County wants to build a new fence to prevent wildlife from entering the runways. Japanese American groups have protested that fence, which they say will reduce public access to a portion of the former Tule Lake Segregation Center.

   The center was built in 1942 on Bureau of Reclamation lands near presentday Newell. At its peak, the camp held more than 18,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of them U.S. citizens. Reynolds said the Tule Lake Unit, which includes the camp and other sites, “recognizes the loss of civil rights endured by these incarcerees and the strength they had to protect their treatment.”

   The Tule Lake Unit was designated in 2008 by President George W. Bush as part of the larger World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The Tule Lake Unit comprises three parcels, including the 37-acre site along Highway 139, with the historic jail, and 13 other buildings remaining from the camp, which was used from 1943 to 1946.

   Reynolds said the project will replace 2,675 linear feet of deteriorated non-historic chain link and add a new gate. The project will begin from the historic fence along Highway 139, turn right on Modoc County Road 113, and turn   right again to return to the historic fence. No historic fence will be impacted. Cost of the project is $37,000.

   While Reynolds said the fence repair is necessary, he also believes it signals the National Park Service’s intention to gradually add to the fledgling park.

   “The message is we’re trying to communicate with the community. It’s a very visible fence and replacing it is an important step,” he said. “This is a national park site, and we are charged with telling the story and protecting the resource.”

   Although little visible work has been done at the segregation center portion of the Tule Lake Unit, Reynolds said several upgrades have been accomplished, including roofing a garage, adding power to buildings used as warehouses, mowing and repairing various shop buildings.

   “People aren’t used to seeing work done at Tule Lake. Funding is very tight,” he said of obtaining funds to develop the Tule Lake Unit.

  Submitted photo

   The Tule Lake Segregation Center is planning to replace 2,675 linear feet of deteriorated non-historic chain link fence and add a new gate.



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