"There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Heart Mountain Relocation Center

I seem to be doing a lot of road time lately.  The previous week I made a trip to Fishing Bridge for a grocery meeting and this past week it was a liquor meeting at Grant (yup, a meeting about liquor!  What a job!).  My trip to Grant included picking someone up at Tower so I took off from Mammoth at 7:30 am and headed east....straight into a bison jam on the Blacktail.  Then it was another jam of some sort by Petrified Tree and then I made it to Tower just in time to find out that Dunraven Pass had been closed due to a slide but had just reopened.  We came across another jam by Fishing Bridge and this time it was a grizzly.  And as it happened it was the same grizzly that I came face-to-face with a few mornings before.  On my way back from the meeting it was yet another jam by Floating Island Lake, this time it was a black bear.

Though I see some amazing sights during my drives I am now usually trying to get from point A to point B so I rarely take the opportunity to photograph or watch any of the wildlife.  But I am always in the company of my trusty camera in case I do find a moment to snap the shutter.  As the summertime crowds grow I am less likely to do so.  I much more enjoy the quiet moments with the scenery and wildlife and I am more apt to see things closer during my early morning drives.  I will wait until fall and winter before I go head on into my wildlife viewing drives when my camera spends more time up to my eye than laying quietly on the seat next to me.  But I know when I see the lumbering bear or the wandering wolf quietly ambling down the roadway and it is just me and them I can casually reach over and grab my camera and capture the moment.  The mornings are for me and my camera.

And the weekends are for my travels out of the Park.  While I head to Wapiti I pass numerous families excitedly driving into the Park for their adventure and I am equally excited to explore the region outside the Park.  I so enjoy the history of the towns surrounding the Park and with a few ghost and mining towns under my belt from last summers excursions I spent this past weekend enjoying the sights and sounds of history in the Cody area.  I picked up my friend Jackie from Canyon and she went to Wapiti with me to enjoy a few of the things that Cody has to offer.  First on our agenda was meeting Patrick at Adriana's, an Italian restaurant in Cody (delicious!).

The next morning Jackie and I spent the morning wandering the stores of Cody and then it was off to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center.

During high school I took an entire semester of WWII history and not once was it mentioned that the US had relocation camps.  I first heard about these camps when my dad told me that a coworker of his had been sent to one in California when she was a child.  Between Cody and Powell is the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, which is currently having an interpretive center being built.
There are only a handful of buildings left where the camp once stood.  They are boarded up but we could peer through some of the windows.
Last year I bought a book about the camp for my dad.  I had paged through it and looked at some of the pictures from the camp and read a bit about the history of the camp.  Such a sad part of our history that so few people know about.