The public is invited to celebrate the formal launch of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park by attending the Visit Tri-Cities tourism showcase Nov. 12 in Kennewick.
On Nov. 10, federal officials plan a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., to formally establish the new national park, which will include Hanford’s historic B Reactor. It also will include Manhattan Project facilities at Los Alamos, N.M., and Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Two days later, communities in the three states will celebrate the new park.
The national park will engage the public to reflect upon the nature of war, the global legacy of nuclear weapons and other effects, both positive and negative, of splitting the atom, according to Kris Watkins, president of Visit Tri-Cities.
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will be part of a small percentage of national parks focusing on science and technology.
B Reactor public tours have concluded until next spring, but eight Tri-City fourth-grade classes are invited to tour the reactor Nov. 12. The National Park Service has launched an “Every Kid in a Park” initiative for fourth-graders as part of its centennial celebration.
The public can learn more about the plans for the park at Visit Tri-Cities’ tourism showcase and annual meeting from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. The event will start with the meeting.
Chip Jenkins, deputy regional director of the National Park Service in the Pacific West Region, will discuss NPS plans for the park and the role the service will play in the Tri-City area. Watkins will give an industry update and present awards, including the Tourism Champion of the Year.
The tourism showcase will have a 1940s theme tied to the World War II Manhattan Project, with music of the era and vintage cars on display. More than 50 booths and displays are planned featuring tourism-related projects and businesses, wineries, hotels, museums and regional attractions.