Pilgrimage participants visit Tule Lake’s jail, the only remaining jail in the 10 War Relocation Authority camp sites, in 2009. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)
TULELAKE — Superintendent Larry Whalon has announced the availability of the Tule Lake Segregation Center Historic Jail Rehabilitation Project Environmental Assessment.
The National Park Service is seeking comments on the proposed restoration of the Tule Lake Segregation Center jail.
Tule Lake is the largest of the ten sites where people of Japanese descent from the West Coast were forcibly removed and incarcerated during World War II. Tule Lake is the only one of the ten War Relocation Authority camps to become a maximum-security facility with three separate detention facilities, including the jail.
The jail, used to administratively detain dissident leaders, was in use from late 1944 until the closure of the Tule Lake Segregation Center in 1946.
After the camp was abandoned, the vacant jail deteriorated from aging and weathering. A free-standing shelter erected by the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) in 2004 protected the building from the elements before and after its transfer to the NPS in 2008. Beginning in 2013, the Tule Lake Unit worked with the Tule Lake Committee to prepare a plan for its restoration.
The building is significant as a jail within a jail in the Tule Lake Segregation Center National Historic Landmark. It is the only remaining jail in the 10 camp sites. Therefore, the proposed action focuses on restoration and rehabilitation of the structure to ensure its availability for visitor understanding of the incarceration.
Comments are welcome until June 7, and should be entered at the NPS Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov and click “Tule Lake Segregation Center Jail Restoration EA.”
The Tule Lake Unit of World War II Valor in the Pacific, established in 2008, is a nationally significant site dedicated to telling the story of the cost of war on the home front and the lasting effects of the unjust incarceration of over 29,000 U.S. citizens and long-term residents of Japanese ancestry at the Tule Lake Segregation Center.