Time, funds needed to develop plan for Honouliuli monument – Honolulu Star Advertiser

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Honouliuli National Monument, announced by President Barack Obama on Thursday, will encompass 155 acres at its former location in Kunia, but a general management plan for its development could take several years and needs funding, the National Park Service said.

"The NPS tries to complete general management plans for new parks within a few years of their creation, but that is dependent on funding being made available," said Craig Dalby, a spokesman for the park service's Pacific West Region in San Francisco. "In the short term, the NPS will work with partners to provide limited opportunities for the public to visit the site, and to organize special events to recognize the site's significant history."

Opened in 1943, Hono­uli­uli Internment Camp was the last, largest and longest-used World War II confinement site in Hawaii.

It held 320 internees, mostly second-generation Japa­nese-Americans, but also Japa­nese, German and Italian nationals, according to the park service.

The former facility has come to symbolize Hawaii's role in the discrimination that was directed against Americans of Japa­nese descent after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack and America's entry into World War II.

"Going forward, it's going to be a monument to a painful part of our history so that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past," Obama said in Chicago as he designated Honouliuli and two other national monuments.

The president is expected to sign the authorizing documents into law this week.

The site of the internment camp is part of 123 acres donated to the federal government by Monsanto Co. What a re-created Honouliuli eventually will look like still needs to be determined.

The Kunia site became the largest prisoner-of-war camp in Hawaii, with nearly 4,000 POWs from Korea, Oki­nawa, Taiwan, Japan and Italy.

The White House said the new monument will protect the location where Japanese-American citizens, resident immigrants and prisoners of war were held captive during World War II.

According to a 2011 National Register of Historic Places document, more than 130 features, including two standing buildings, numerous foundations, rock walls, fence remnants, scatterings of artifacts and other features related to the Honouliuli camp were in existence at that time.

The internee compound was originally divided into four separate areas, the report said.

West of a stream was the Japanese-American men's compound. East of the stream were the Japanese-American women and German-Americans. A mess hall served all three groups.

Some photographs showed the Japanese-American men's area and the German-Americans' with the same type of barracks, and both areas with neatly planted shrubs and trees. Internee barracks were wooden buildings on post- and-pier foundations.

For internees, though, "the pain and humiliation of being interned were exacerbated by the physical discomfort of mosquitoes and excessive heat," the report stated. The valley slopes trapped heat in the camp, and the internees called the camp Jigoku-Dani, or Hell Valley.

"Boredom was oppressive, and many worked on gardening, landscaping or crafts to pass the time," the report said.

Honouliuli may have been used through 1946 for POW transfers, according to the account, but the camp was dismantled and bulldozed sometime within the next two years.

Although a 2014 Honouliuli Gulch and Associated Sites draft study prepared by the park service said the then-proposed national monument or historic site would be about 440 acres, the park service — which will manage the monument — recently refined that number to 155 acres.

The national monument will not include 285 acres of adjacent University of Hawaii land considered in the draft study to facilitate access, the park service's Dalby said.

"However, the University of Hawaii and the National Park Service have signed an agreement to assure public access to the national monument," Dalby said in an email.

The 155 acres that will make up the monument include all of the known archaeological and cultural resources associated with Honouliuli Internment Camp, he said.

The draft study said management of Honouliuli "would be through World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor, given its close proximity and related history." But Dalby said the plan now is to have the monument managed initially through the NPS Pacific West Region office in San Francisco.

Monsanto said it bought 2,300 acres of agriculture-zoned land in 2007, knowing remnants of the internment camp were in a gulch on the property.

"At that time, Monsanto pledged to work with interested community groups to help preserve the historic site," the company said.

Monsanto donated 116 acres in the gulch and seven acres atop the gulch. The park service said an additional 31 acres of Monsanto land would be protected through conser­va­tion easements or land acquisition.

"We understand that the process to create a national monument is long and complex, and there's still a ways to go," Alan Takemoto, community affairs manager for Monsanto Hawaii, said in a release. "However, this site is an important part of Hawaii's history and should be preserved for future generations."

Monsanto said the property being donated was appraised at $461,700.