Visiting Pritchard Park today, you see a picturesque beach with fine sand and unparalleled views. But not so long ago, this open space was a place of heartbreak and disrupted families. The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is located on the western edge of the park and commemorates the first site where Japanese Americans were forcibly detained and taken to internment camps during World War II.
Why this property?
On the opposite end of the park stands a former industrial site where wood was once treated with creosote, a toxic substance. When the area was declared a Superfund site for hazardous waste in 1987, the EPA shipped in tons of sand to cap the harbor’s sea-floor and tried to remove the leftover creosote with steam injections. That work was in process when The Trust for Public Land approached the Bainbridge Island Land Trust to help acquire the 50-acre property for a park. Partnering with the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District, the City of Bainbridge Island, the Suquamish Tribe, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, and The Trust for Public Land, the Land Trust helped raise money to purchase the park and build trails to showcase the property. Conversations between the EPA and the state continue to address how cleanup can and should continue. Pritchard Park’s story is a hopeful one, even if the land hasn’t been fully restored — it is a heartening example of how diplomacy and partnership can help heal old wounds of the land and people.
- Coastal ecosystem
- Beach & undeveloped shoreline
- Scenic & open space values
- Habitat for migratory birds