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An easy pedal around a fascinating site that records a low point in US history.


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Map Key

4.0

Miles

6.4

KM

Doubletrack

4,573' 1,394 m

High

4,566' 1,392 m

Low

11' 3 m

Up

11' 3 m

Down

0%

Avg Grade (0°)

0%

Max Grade (0°)

Dogs No Dogs

E-Bikes Unknown

Features Views

Family Friendly Very flat area with fairly wide tracks and important US history.

Stay on the roads; don't remove any artifacts. No motorcycles or ATVs.

Need to Know

A few of the road segments are no longer passable by vehicle.

It's very open desert here, with blistering summer sun. The wind can howl, too. Spring and fall are best (or early in the morning during the summer months). There are no services, so be self-contained.

This site and the nearby museum in town make a great leg-stretch stop if you are road tripping through on Highway 50, The Loneliest Road in America. While in the area, you might also want to check out the Delta Solar Ruins: follow signs towards the Topaz Internment Camp; the solar installation is to the south--look for some massive posts sticking up from the otherwise flat farmland.

Description

Park at the flag pole monument, read the interpretive materials, then pedal east on the road a few yards to enter where the camp gates used to be. The mapped route is just a suggestion--ride whatever route and distance you like through the camp grid. The open, central(ish) area contained a Buddhist church, gymnasium, baseball field and other shared spaces. Keep the bike on the roads, but get off and walk around to see more details of the layout of the camp blocks.

The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during WWII was one of the worst violations of civil rights against citizens in the history of the United States. With only a week's notice, internees lost everything they had.

"On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Without any judicial hearings and due process of law, more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were forcibly uprooted from their homes and taken under armed guard for relocation and detention in a system of assembly centers and internment camps.

Over 8100 Japanese Americans were confined at Topaz, including Fred Korematsu and Mitsuye Endo, whose involvement in landmark US Supreme Court cases challenged the constitutionality of the exclusion and relocation. In December 1944 the court held that 'admittedly loyal' citizens could not be deprived of their liberty and held in relocation centers." -- from the dedication plaque

"Topaz became a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 2007. After many years of organizing, fundraising, and collecting information and artifacts, the Topaz Museum was built in Delta, UT and debuted with a display of the art created at Topaz. Permanent exhibits, installed in 2017, chronicle the people who were interned there and tell their stories." -- topazmuseum.org/

From wikipedia: "Topaz" is a 1945 documentary film, shot illegally (though with the assistance of members of the camp staff), which documented life at the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah during World War II.

Filmed by internee Dave Tatsuno (1913–2006), it was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress in 1996, and was the second amateur film ever selected for the National Film Registry (after the "Zapruder" film of the JFK assassination).

Tatsuno always credited his store supervisor, Walter Honderick, for helping him get the movie camera into the camp. Film was smuggled out of the camp on trips that Tatsuno made to buy merchandise for the store.

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F Felix

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#15180

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#616

in Utah

#15,180

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1 Views Last Month
108 Since Apr 25, 2021
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Photos

Devil scorpion in Topaz cinders
Apr 30, 2021 near Delta, UT
Topaz concentration camp
Apr 30, 2021 near Delta, UT
Topaz church site
Apr 30, 2021 near Delta, UT
Topaz concentration camp
Apr 30, 2021 near Delta, UT
Topaz baseball field. "American Pastime" is a 2007 movie that tells a story about Topaz baseball.
Apr 30, 2021 near Delta, UT
Topaz concentration camp interpretive sign
Apr 30, 2021 near Delta, UT

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