Written by Bruce Beckham
On June 4, more than 300 volunteers, professionals from the travel and tourism industry, will gather on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay to give some much needed TLC to this historic California State Park, a priority project of Save America's Treasures. Tourism Cares for America (TCFA) is a volunteer program operated by Tourism Cares, a charity that seeks to preserve the travel experience for future generations. We have been organizing such events since 2003, beginning at Ellis Island, moving on to restore such sites as Virginia City, Nevada; Louis Armstrong Park and St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans; Mount Vernon; and the George Spangler Farm in Gettysburg, PA.
Beyond its taking place just after the conclusion of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, this year's project at Angel Island is significant in many ways. Often referred to as "the Ellis Island of the West", the famed Angel Island Immigration Station is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. An estimated 250,000 Chinese and 150,000 Japanese, along with thousands of immigrants from other nations, passed through Angel Island Immigration Station from 1910 to 1940. This hallowed spot fell into ruin, but was restored and re-opened in 2009 thanks to the efforts of a coalition of organizations and funders led by Save America's Treasures, which launched the campaign in 2000 with more than $1 million in federal and private grants.
However, other parts of the island remain in disrepair and in need of upkeep because of budget cuts. Volunteers will break into groups and spend the day upgrading hiking trails, mending fences, picking up debris, power washing buildings and performing general maintenance.
The travel and tourism industry appreciates our world's natural, cultural and historic treasures and strives to protect and preserve them. Through these annual Tourism Cares for America events, by giving grants to these and similar deserving sites and by providing scholarships to students studying tourism, the travel industry is making a difference.
Bruce Beckham is the executive director of Tourism Cares.
- Asian Pacific Heritage in Preservation
- Angel Island Immigration Station on the 11 Most Endangered List
Save America's Treasures, Preserve America, and the other programs cut or underfunded by the proposed federal budget do more than preserve our country's rich heritage – they put Americans to work. Learn more about the National Trust's campaign to restore this critical funding.