National park affiliation: let’s bring it home/Slow growing

National park affiliation: let’s bring it home

Hard to believe it’s been three years since islanders veritably filled City Hall, drawn by a visit from the National Park Service, the unveiling of plans for a Nikkei Exclusion Memorial – and most tantalizing, the possible intersection of the two.

And yet here we are, the fruits of that fine afternoon manifest in a formal (and eminently readable) NPS study of the memorial project and the potential for federal participation – a study authorized and funded by an act of Congress, no less. The just-released study suggests that the planned memorial to the wartime internment of Japanese Americans is appropriate for national park funding and management, not as its own entity, but as an adjunct to established sites already telling the internment story.

Indeed, it became apparent early on that the planned memorial would not qualify for “monument” or “landmark” status, as the most identifiable physical symbol of the internees’ departure – the old Eagledale ferry landing – is no longer there. Yet the proposal to designate the memorial site a “satellite unit” of the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Idaho allows the National Park Service to achieve symmetry by working backward from the end of the journey, the internment camp, to the beginning, Eagledale. It is a meaningful pairing.

Tuesday brings the National Park Service back to Bainbridge Island, for public meetings at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at City Hall. We trust those who have supported the memorial effort will turn out once more to urge the fullest federal participation in this worthy project.

The Bainbridge community is on the threshold of a great honor – inclusion in America’s national park system. Let’s give the National Park Service an island welcome.

Slow growing

Spring is in full swing, and local produce is rolling in by the bushel at the farmers’ market every Saturday.

So market patrons will be pardoned if they take this bounty to suggest that city-owned farmlands at Day Road and Fletcher Bay are yielding something besides dirt. Sadly, acres and acres of fertile fields – purchased with hundreds of thousands of dollars of public funds over the past four years – sit fallow, while officials figure out how to manage the properties.

With due apologies for skepticism, it’s hard to get too excited by news (on page A3 of today’s edition) that the city has brought in an outside organization to inventory the farms and figure out a way to put farmers on them. What a fall harvest that promises: another study for the City Hall shelf.

Certainly, we wish the enterprise luck. In the meantime, a quicker way to put the city’s fields to good use would be to make them available for community “P-patches.” Anyone who visits Battle Point Park is certainly familiar with the array of flowers, herbs and other greenery that a few dozen industious islanders raise on that (publicly owned and managed) ground for their own satisfaction. The folks at the park district report that demand for these community garden plots is strong, to the point that there’s a waiting list for spaces.

Best of all, the gardens require little management. As one park official put it, “You assign a plot, and you mow down the weeds once in a while.”

Why this would work on park district land, and not city land, eludes us. It can’t be the soil.

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