Navy works to restore public access to Tinian Beach

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Pacific and NAVFAC Marianas, in partnership with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) government, are working to restore public access to Chiget Beach at the former Tinian Mortar Range. What was once part of a World War II battlefield, the mortar range was used as a training facility from 1945 to 1994. Following several site visits and assessments over the years, a remedial investigation began in 2015. “The range falls under the Department of the Navy’s Environmental Restoration Program, as an identified Munitions Response Program site, with the objective to clean up sites impacted by past military usage.” said Gregg Ikehara, NAVFAC Marianas remedial project manager.

“All bases in the U.S. have been moving toward the cleanup of both installation restoration and munitions response sites, which include former ranges, disposal areas, old dumpsites, storage areas and maintenance sites to protect human health and the environment from contamination due to past Navy usage, which would make property available for future needs.”

A non-time critical removal action started in 2018, and field work began in November 2020 in an effort to restore access to the beach. CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG Torres expressed his appreciation to the Department of Defense for their commitment in moving the project forward. “The Chiget range has been a persistent issue for the people of the Tinian and the CNMI as a whole,” said Torres. “I am pleased that the remediation work is finally happening. I thank Major Gen. Suzie Vares-Lum and Rear Adm. John Menoni for their partnership is seeing this through and look forward to its successful completion and for the eventual opening of the Chiget beach for access by our Tinian residents and visitors a