Historic Amache Pilgrimage

Camp Amache Main Entrance

A rainy, chilly Saturday didn’t deter visitors from attending the annual Camp Amache Pilgrimage in Granada this past Saturday, May 21st, following a two-year gap due to the Covid pandemic.  The recent passage of the Amache National Historic Site Act by President Biden and an opportunity for an in-person visit, brought a strong attendance of first-time visitors for the annual event.

Luncheon Audience at Granada High School

This year’s pilgrimage was filmed by the National Park Service which is being posted to its website and social media outlets at Amache.org.  News film crews the Front Range were in attendance, however, according to John Hopper, Founder of the Amache Preservation Society, news teams from PBS and CBS in New York were unable to attend due to the spring snow storm that hit the Front Range with over 20 inches of snow.  KUSA’s news anchor, Gary Shapiro, was in attendance and said his tv station plans to air a half-hour broadcast on the significance of Camp Amache the latter part of June.

NPS Reps, Mike Reynolds and Kara Miyagishima


The Pilgrimage followed the format of past visits, begun by descendants of Amache and other internment camps in the mid 1960s.  A memorial was held at the Amache Cemetery at 11am, shortly after two busses of attendees arrived at the Granada High School, along with several dozen personal vehicles.  A pot luck luncheon was held at the high school at 12:30pm, followed by a visit to the new Amache Museum site which greatly expanded the number of historic artifacts that had been retrieved and preserved by the Amache Preservation Society founded by Granada teacher John Hopper and a host of high school students for the past two decades as well as archeological teams from various Colorado colleges and universities.  Ian and Jerene de Bono were on hand, helping organize the day’s events from Granada’s contribution to the visit.

Vicki Taniwaki introduced the guests during the luncheon including National Parks Service representatives, Mike Reynolds, Regional Director, Stuart West, Group Superintendent and Kara Miyagishima, Superintendent, Amache National Historic Site.  Yoichi Makami, Consulate General of Japan in Denver, presented John Hopper with a Commendation Award for his past years work on behalf of Camp Amache. Calvin Taro Hada, President of Nikkeijin Kai of Colorado, presented scholarships to four Granada students, Dominic Pullman, Ivan Yenez, Alice Peet and Kaitlin Baca.

Mike Reynolds of the NPS explained some of the steps required to bring Camp Amache in the Parks Service domain.  “It will take about a year to go through the process of land ownership documentation required to transfer the acreage over to the Park Service,” he explained, adding that surveys and a study by archeological teams will also be part of the process.  It’s been estimated that from 35,000 to 40,000 visitors will begin to visit the Granada site once Camp Amache receives its official designation.  John Hopper remarked recently, that with the Presidential proclamation, the number of visitors is expected to increase beyond the usual numbers this summer.

By Russ Baldwin

(Editor’s Note:  Channel 13, KRDO announced through social media, it will broadcast additional coverage of Camp Amache during it’s 5pm newscast this evening, May 23rd)



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