Birding Hotspots Where to Go Birding

Mount Lemmon–Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area (Prison Camp)

Coronado National Forest
Tucson, Arizona 85749
Gordon Hirabayashi Campground webpage

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Pima County

Mt. Lemmon–Gordon Hirabayashi RA (Prison Camp)
Coordinates: 32.3377823, -110.718673
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About Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area (Prison Camp)
The name Prison camp came from the Federal Honor Camp begun in 1937 to house federal prisoners supplying labor to build a road providing access into the Santa Catalina Mountains. Prisoners had been convicted of federal crimes ranging from immigration law violations to tax evasion to bank robbery.

During World War II, many of the prisoners were conscientious objectors whose religions prohibited them from serving in the military. Some were Japanese Americans protesting the “Japanese American Relocation,” the largest forced removal and incarceration in U.S. History. After the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, over 100,000 Japanese Americans, many American Citizens, were imprisoned in crowded internment camps for fear they would conduct espionage and sabotage along the west coast.

Gordon Hirabayashi was a senior at the University of Washington in 1942. He challenged the constitutionality of internment based on race or ancestry. He turned himself into the FBI rather than report for relocation. He was convicted and sentenced to serve at the honor camp in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

In 1987 Hirabayashi’s case was overturned. A federal commission determined that the internment had been motivated by racial prejudice and wartime hysteria. In 1988 the Civil Liberties Act was signed by President Ronald Reagan, which acknowledged the injustice and apologized for the internment.

In 1999 the Coronado National Forest renamed the site in honor of Dr. Hirabayashi and the other resisters of conscience who were imprisoned there. Dr. Hirabayashi and others attended the dedication ceremony.

Take the Catalina Highway off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. Drive 4.2 miles to the Forest boundary and continue approximately 7 miles to the campground. As you go up the mountain, the campground entrance is on your left.
From Gordon Hirabayashi Campground webpage

Tips for birding Mount Lemmon
Take Catalina Highway northeast from Tanque Verde Road. For desert and mountain species, stop at picnic and campgrounds (Molina Basin, Bear Canyon, Rose Canyon Lake and others) as you drive the narrow, winding road to high elevations.
From Tucson Audubon Society