Hanford bike ride, artifact display part of park service centennial

A historic preservation team visits Hanford’s historic T Plant, identifying artifacts to preserve to tell the story of the nuclear reservation and the Manhattan Project.
A historic preservation team visits Hanford’s historic T Plant, identifying artifacts to preserve to tell the story of the nuclear reservation and the Manhattan Project. Tri-City Herald file

The National Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary with events at one of its newest national parks, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Participants can pick from activities ranging from the first organized bike ride through the park at Hanford to a look at some of the artifacts saved.

Historic areas of Hanford are part of the new national park, which includes sites in three states to tell the story of the race to develop an atomic bomb during World War II, ushering in the atomic age.

Hanford-area events include:

Historical exhibit

A free exhibit that displays some of the artifacts collected at the Hanford nuclear reservation and tells the story of how the collection came to be will open with a reception 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 28.

Smaller historical items — such as signs and radiological protection equipment — will be on display in the exhibition, called “Preserving the Past: The History of DOE’s Hanford Collection.”

The exhibit is at the Washington State University Tri-Cities Art Center in the Consolidated Information Center, 2770 Crimson Way, Richland. It will remain on display through October as part of the Hanford History Project.

Wine fundraiser

A fundraiser will raise money for the Hanford History Project at WSU Tri-Cities and the Hanford portion of the new national park.

Wine will be poured and a silent auction held at the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center on the Richland campus 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 29.

Tickets are $60 and can be purchased by calling Jillian Gardner-Andrews, Hanford History Project coordinator, at 509-372-7447. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

Open house

The public will have a chance to see the new repository storing the Department of Energy’s collection of artifacts saved as historic facilities are decommissioned and dismantled at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

The collection includes “anything and everything,” Gardner-Andrews said. Items include a glove box made for the Fast Flux Test Facility but never used, models of nuclear facilities and retro phone booths, desks and bikes.

The Hanford Collection Repository Open House, with guided tours, is planned from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 1 at the repository’s new home adjacent to the Tri-City campus in the Innovation Center Building, 2892 Pauling Ave. There is no cost.

The repository will be a resource for researchers and museums seeking loaned artifacts and will be open by scheduled visits to members of the public who want to learn more about Hanford history.

B Reactor concerts

The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers plan two concerts inside historic B Reactor, which is a centerpiece of the new national park.

The performances are believed to be the first choral concerns worldwide to take place in a decommissioned reactor. The program will explore the history of Hanford and B Reactor and reflect on themes of war, peace and scientific achievement.

The first concert, for those 21 and older, will include a dinner catered by Ethos Trattoria and bar service Sept. 30. Tickets are $125.

The second concert on Oct. 2 is open to all ages. Cost is $75.

Transportation for both will be provided from the parking lot of the federal building on Jadwin Avenue in Richland. Visitors should arrive in time to catch a 5:30 p.m. bus Sept. 30 and a 1:30 p.m. bus Oct. 2.

Part of the ticket price will be donated to support the national park at Hanford.

Tickets may be purchased at midcolumbiamastersingers.org.

Bike ride

Cyclists will make history Oct. 1 with the first public bike ride on the closed nuclear reservation, an event dubbed “Ride the Reactor.”

The ride is open to 100 participants, who will travel a 15-mile route that begins and ends at B Reactor, the world’s first full-scale nuclear reaction. The trail follows gravel and paved roads, offering a look at shrub-steppe landscape and wildlife.

A barbecue, lawn games and reactor tours will follow the ride. Cost is $100, with all proceeds donated to support the national park at Hanford. The event is organized by Bike Tri-Cities with the park service, DOE and REI.

Registration information is posted at visittri-cities.com/ridethereactor.

Free tours

It’s not too late to sign up for tours of the national park at Hanford as the 2016 tour season wraps up in November.

Pick from bus tours that go to B Reactor or to the pre-World War II sites that tell the story of rural and tribal life before land was seized for the secret Manhattan Project.

To register for free tours, go to hanford.gov/page.cfm/HanfordSiteTours or call 509-376-1647.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews