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Volunteers help make Field of Dreams come true at Manzanar National Historic Site

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Volunteers help make Field of Dreams come true 

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Photo Credit: NPS Photo. Volunteers played another game of baseball after clearing the infield and placing bases on the field at Manzanar.

INDEPENDENCE, Calif. – Thirty seven volunteers came out to Manzanar National Historic Site over Veterans Day weekend to help clear the baseball field of prickly tumbleweeds and other plants, as well as storm debris that flooded the field during Tropical Storm Hilary in August of this year.

The volunteers cleared three acres of tumbleweed — an area about the size of two football fields side-by-side. Restoration of the baseball field will continue through the spring and early summer.

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Photo Credit: NPS Photo. Large, dense tumbleweed covered the baseball field when volunteers arrived to begin the work to clear the field.

“Without the dedicated volunteers this project would not be possible,” said Jeff Burton, the site’s cultural resources program manager. “They give time and heart to these projects the park staff cannot do alone.”

The Fund for People in Parks provided the tools for clearing the field and reconstruction of the baseball field. This is the fifth project the Fund has supported at Manzanar.

“It’s been extremely rewarding to have helped make this transformational project a reality, and we’re excited to see the work begin,” said Kevin Hendricks, executive director for the Fund for People in Parks.

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Photo Credit: NPS Photo. Volunteers cleared about three acres of the prickly tumbleweed over two days using hand tools.

Dan Kwong, a volunteer whose mother and grandmother were incarcerated at Manzanar, said about the work he and other volunteers accomplished:

“We all re-enacted what my mother and grandmother’s generation did some 80 years ago: Transform a remote and hostile environment into something lovely, through determination and undaunted spirit.  

In this place of painful memory, we reclaimed a place of play. And we will continue to transform it into something truly delightful.  

This will be our field of dreams.”   

You can visit this work in progress anytime from dusk to dawn at Manzanar National Historic Site, 5001 Highway 395, Independence, CA 93526. Walking the grounds and taking the auto tour are available seven days a week. Winter visitor center hours are variable. Check our website for the latest visitor center information.

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