The US departments of Energy (DOE) and the Interior have signed an agreement making the three sites of the Manhattan Project a National Historical Site — and the 409th official unit of the National Park Service. The Manhattan Project was the name given to the secret World War II effort to develop the first atomic weapon. The agreement makes the new NPS unit and eligible for the ARRL 2016 National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) event, celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service. The National Parks Conservation Association reported the agreement on November 10. The three sites comprising the Manhattan Project National Historical Park now will be added — with a caveat — to the list of eligible NPOTA sites. They are in Hanford, Washington; Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
“A visit to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park will be different from a visit to many other national parks,” the National Park Service has pointed out. “Many of the properties included in the park are located in areas that are still part of the active DOE mission. Because of safety and security issues some facilities may not be immediately open to the public, and others may only be visited on organized bus tours. The National Park Service and the Department of Energy are working together to safely expand access to the facilities included in the park.”
As a result, the new unit will be flagged as “extremely sensitive” on the NPOTA list, which is the official list of NPS Administrative Units and Affiliated Areas as defined and maintained by NPS.
NPOTA will run throughout 2016, with activity promoted and encouraged from each of the official NPS administrative units and affiliated areas across the US. This includes all National Parks as well as many National Battlefields, Historic Sites, Memorials, Preserves, Reserves, Rivers, Seashores, National Scenic Trails, and other units.
The NPOTA program will have two participation tracks — Chasers and Activators. Chasers will simply attempt to make contact with operators in as many of the NPS units as possible. Activators will attempt to activate as many of the units as possible. NPOTA participants may serve in both roles. Only one contact with any given NPS unit will be required, and no tally will be kept of NPS units based on bands or modes. NPOTA will be administered entirely through Logbook of The World (LoTW). Award certificates will be available.
Complete details on National Parks on the Air are available on the ARRL website.