Manzanar National Historic Site: Volunteer Day, Oct 30

Manzanar Volunteer Day Oct 30, 2010

Manzanar National Historic Site is hosting its 3rd Annual Volunteer Day on Saturday, October, 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Owens Valley residents and their families are invited to join the Manzanar staff in a morning outdoor work project followed by a catered lunch, arborist program and walking tour with a park ranger.

The Volunteer Day work project involves clearing a section of historic road to improve access through the site.

The road will weave by the historic orchards of the Lydston & Wilder Ranches, establishing a walking tour to the cemetery.

Volunteers will use shovels, pruners, rakes, and wheelbarrows to remove vegetation from the road area. Work will be supervised by park staff.

The town of Manzanar—the Spanish word for “apple orchard”—developed as an agricultural settlement beginning in 1910. Farmers grew apples, pears, peaches, potatoes, and alfalfa on several thousand acres surrounding the town.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began acquiring water rights in the valley in 1905 and completed the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913.  Land buyouts continued in the 1920s, and by 1929 Los Angeles owned all of Manzanar’s land and water rights.

Within five years, the town was abandoned, as were the trees.

During World War II, Japanese Americans confined at Manzanar revitalized the orchards to provide fresh fruit in the camp’s mess halls.  Sixty years later, the National Park Service began pruning and watering the trees on an ongoing basis.

Manzanar welcomes community involvement in the preservation of this special site. Staff and community members will work together to improve the site, get to know our each other, and have some good, dirty, outdoor fun.

Please wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, a hat, and sunscreen. Manzanar will provide water, food, work gloves, and a commemorative bandana to every participant.

The day’s schedule is as follows:

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Arrive and sign-in, park in the Interpretive Center parking lot and meet on the north side of the building

9:00 a.m. Welcome, outline of work, safety message

9:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Work project

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Picnic lunch provided by Friends of Manzanar, arborist talk about Manzanar’s orchards past and present

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Join a ranger for a walk through Manzanar’s past

Volunteers should RSVP as participation is limited and so the park service can plan lunch. Please call Park Ranger Carrie Andresen to RSVP at (760) 878-2194, ext. 2714 for more information or to reserve a spot.

Manzanar National Historic Site is located nine miles north of Lone Pine and six miles south of Independence on the west side of U.S. Highway 395.

For more information on Manzanar, please visit the website at or call (760) 878-2194.