Japanese-American Internment Camps

Japanese-American Internment Camps Preservation Initiative

Barracks at Minidoka Japanese Internment Camp

Barracks at Minidoka Japanese Internment Camp, Idaho. Photo by Francis Stewart.

It is an often overlooked episode of American history. After the start of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the forced relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans to internment camps. In 1942, a total of 120,000 Japanese were interned in 10 different camps—the single largest forced relocation in U.S. history.

Families were forced to leave their homes, businesses and belongings to live in camps surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers. The living quarters were quickly built and substandard and had no cooking facilities or bathrooms. About half of those interned were children.

Our Efforts To Save The History Of Japanese Internment Camps

In 2005 the Fund established its Japanese-American Internment Camp Preservation Initiative to acquire the lands once used as campsites. Many of the camps have little left as evidence of their existence. Protecting these sites leaves a lasting historical legacy that ensures future generations have a better understanding of the impact of World War II on American society. These historic sites provide a chance to understand, appreciate and learn that the denial of civil rights is not to be repeated or forgotten.

The Fund is focusing its initial efforts on three camp sites: Tule Lake, California; Topaz, Utah; and Minidoka, Idaho. We’re pursuing opportunities to purchase unprotected land at the sites and to increase their level of protection through either federal legislation or national historic landmark designation.


Japanese-American Internment Camp Preservation Initiative: Minidoka Barracks at Minidoka Japanese Internment Camp

At the start of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the forced relocation and incarceration of Japanese-Americans to internment camps. About 120,000 people were interned during the war; families were forced to leave their… Read More

Topaz Relocation Center American Flag pole at Topaz Internment Camp

As part of the Japanese American Internment Camp Preservation Initiative, we protected 13 acres at the Topaz Relocation Center for the Topaz Museum in Provo. The preservation of this property, the largest unprotected piece of the former camp, will serve as a… Read More


Mark Elsbree
Mark Elsbree Sun Valley, ID
(208) 726-4419

Senior Vice President of Real Estate and Northwest Director Mark Elsbree has been with the Fund since 1998 and currently works in the Sun Valley, Idaho office. Elsbree directs our conservation efforts in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. He holds a B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College.