As an expert panel of historians reported in 2001, the
top-secret program to create an atomic bomb during World
War II centered in Los Alamos, NM, Oak Ridge, Tenn., and
Hanford, Wash. That effort has been called "the
single most significant event of the 20th century."
"Providing visitors with opportunities to form their own
intellectual and emotional connections with the
significance of sites to be included in the Manhattan
Project National Historical Park helps them understand its
relevance to our shared national heritage," Bingaman
explained. "There is no better place to understand
history than where it happened, and that's what national
parks and the National Park Service do best."
The National Park Service, at the direction of Congress,
conducted a special resource study on several Manhattan
Project sites for possible inclusion in the National Park
System. The study recommends that the best way
to preserve and interpret the Manhattan Project is for
Congress to establish a national historical park at the
three sites where much of the critical scientific activity
associated with the project occurred: Los Alamos, Oak
Ridge and Hanford.
Operating from December 1942 until September 1945, the
Manhattan Project was a $2.2 billion effort that employed
130,000 workers at its peak, but was kept largely secret
and out of public view.
Bingaman's bill calls for the U.S. Department of Energy to
partner with the National Park Service in developing and
managing the proposed park, as most of the sites are under
Department of Energy administration. They would be
directed to consult with the public and other stakeholders
to develop a management plan.