Following several years of discussions, the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish tribes are moving forward in a partnership with Olympic Property Group (OPG) and the Cascade Land Conservancy to preserve 7,000-acres of forest land owned by Olympic Property Group. The conservancy has 18 months to come with funding to purchase the property, located in NW Kitsap County, near the town of Port Gamble.

The town and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe share the nearby waterway, Port Gamble Bay. The waterway has been used both economically and culturally by Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal members for generations. A top priority for the tribe the past few years has been protecting the bay from further pollution and development.

Until recently, OPG was offering the land to Kitsap County in exchange for development rights in the historic town. Many were opposed to this proposal, including the tribe, which had concerns about pollution impacting the natural resources of the bay, of which the tribe relies upon for economical and cultural purposes.

Stories about the partnership:

North Kitsap Herald

Kitsap Sun

From the Seattle Times:

Jeromy Sullivan, chairman of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, said the deal could help ensure protection of valuable shellfish beds in Port Gamble Bay.

“We have an obligation to our ancestors, our elders and our youth to ensure that Port Gamble Bay will be restored and protected for the future.”