The Friends of Minidoka say they are deeply disappointed by the Idaho Supreme Courts decision filed Friday to uphold the feedlots permit.
The Minidoka National Historic Site, located near Jerome and Twin Falls, was home to thousands of Japanese American men, women and children who were forcibly relocated there following Japans attack on Pearl Harbor.
We are large supporters of the agricultural industry in Jerome County and believe preservation at Minidoka can take place at the same time, but only if farming operations are planned in a way that recognize public uses, said Hanako Wakatsuki, chairperson of Friends of Minidoka. The group advocates for preservation of and education about the site.
The question of whether to allow a feedlot near the former camp has been in the courts for years.
Jerome County commissioners approved an application from Big Sky Farms for a feeding operation just over a mile from the site in 2008.
Preservationists, including Friends of Minidoka and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, appealed that decision in district court.
Fifth District Judge Robert Elgee said in 2010 that opponents of the 8,000-animal feedlot failed to show they were harmed by Jerome Countys decision.
The preservationists, as well as local residents like Dean Dimond, a farmer whose property is near the Minidoka site and the proposed feeding operation, then went to the Idaho Supreme Court.
We believed that county commissioners had denied us the right to state our case and defend our property, said Dimond, who farms hay, grain and corn and keeps a few cows.
But on Friday the court said that Jerome County commissioners and the district court had both acted properly.
Dimond got the call from his lawyer Saturday about the courts decision.
Their decision is final. I dont know whats going to happen next. Well have to think of our next move, he said.
Just weeks ago, former residents of the Minidoka camp and their families made their annual pilgrimage to the site for a memorial service.
In 2007, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the site one of the most endangered historic sites in America.
Anna Webb: 377-6431