National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Authorizes:

  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park
  • Land Conveyance for Hanford Site
  • Public Access to Rattlesnake Mountain

Click Here to Download the Language for the Manhattan National Park

Click Here to Download the Language Regarding Land Conveyance

Click Here to Download the Language for Public Access to Rattlesnake Mountain

Click Here to Download TRIDEC’s Land Conveyance Proposal (10 CFR 770, May 31, 2011)

Nearly 10 years in the making, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park at Hanford, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge is about to become a reality.  The Congressional effort to establish this new park was led by Congressman Doc Hastings and strongly supported by Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.  The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill which carried language to establish this new National Park, was passed overwhelmingly by both the House of Representatives (300 to 199); and the Senate (85 to 14)!

The Bill reads:  “The purposes (of this National Park) are – 
1.    To preserve and protect for the benefit of present and future generations the nationally significant historic resources associated with the Manhattan Project;
2.    To improve public understanding of the Manhattan Project and the legacy of the Manhattan Project through interpretation of the historic resources associated with the Manhattan Project;
3.    To enhance public access to the Historical Park consistent with protection of public safety, national security and other aspect of the mission of the Department of Energy; and
4.    To assist the Department of Energy, Historical Park communities, historical societies, and other interested organizations and individuals in efforts to preserve and protect the historically significant resources associated with the Manhattan Project.

“Tri-City organizations such as the B Reactor Museum Association (BRMA), TRIDEC and the Visitor and Convention Bureau; teamed with  other communities (Oak Ridge and Los Alamos), and with national organizations such as the Atomic Heritage Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Energy Communities Alliance, from across the U.S., to gain support for this new park,” said Carl Adrian, President of TRIDEC.  “ A 26-person team from the above organizations worked extremely hard over the past three years, increasing their intensity this past six months, to get this language in the bill, and then protect it from being deleted in just the last few days of this Congress.”

The real intent of the new National Park is to give recognition to the more than 100,000 individuals who came from all over the U.S. and world, to build the world’s first full-scale nuclear reactor (B Reactor); as well as all of the other buildings, and equipment necessary to develop the two bombs that ended World War II.   And this effort was done concurrently at all three locations – Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Hanford!

The legislation provides an inventory of properties and historic districts to be included in the park.  Among them are the world’s first-of-a-kind B Reactor at Hanford; the Y-12 Calutron plant for separating uranium isotopes at Oak Ridge; and the buildings where the first atomic bombs were assembled at Los Alamos.

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will be one of the few parks to focus on American industry and highlight the work of physicists, chemists, engineers, mathematicians and other scientists.  The park should become a catalyst for teaching about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and increasing America’s understanding of the nexus between science and society.

The legislation establishes the park no later than one year after enactment (which is when the President signs the bill sometime in the next two weeks).  Consistent with this timing, the Departments of Energy and Interior have one year to enter an agreement defining respective roles and responsibilities and addressing how to enhance public access, preserve historic properties, and interpret the history for the public.

Communities that are closer than 60 miles to a National Park are termed “gateway communities” and the studies on the impact of visitor spending in such communities show it will be a game changer for the tourism industry in the Tri-Cities region.   In 2013, National Park Service visitors spent $14.6 billion in gateway communities which supported 238,000 jobs.   “Indeed, the establishment of a National Park in our region will provide stable economic vitality to the Tri-Cities for years to come,” said Kris Watkins, President Visit Tri-Cities.

“TRIDEC and Visit Tri-Cities are already developing a community working group to meet the legislation’s requirements for the Park Service and DOE to consult with, and invite input from the community in order to develop public access, manage interpretations, and historic preservation for this new National Park,” Carl said.  “Many of the Tri-Cities knowledgeable individuals who ‘lived’ the development of the Manhattan Project are now aging, and our community needs to capture their history, their input and their suggestions as soon as possible.”