The Herald: Tulalips can hunt on firm’s property

The (Everett) Herald:

TULALIP – Tens of thousands of acres of Western Washington wilderness is open to American Indian hunters, thanks to a new agreement between the Tulalip Tribes and a California logging company.

Keys to land owned by Sierra Pacific Industries were made available to tribal hunters this week. They can check out the keys for three days at a time through the Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Department. There is no fee.

The agreement doubles the size of the area in which tribal members can hunt, Tulalip Tribes Fisheries and Wildlife Director Danny Simpson said.

The exact size and location of the area Sierra Pacific Industries has opened was not immediately available.

“There are some companies out there that recognize the tribal hunting right,” Tulalip Tribes wildlife manager Michael Sevigny said. “This happens to be one of them.”

Spokesmen for Sierra Pacific Industries could not be reached for comment.

Members of the tribes that signed the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855 were guaranteed the right to hunt on “open and unclaimed” land within their traditional area.

Tribal leaders say that area stretches from the Canadian border south of Olympia and from the San Juan Islands and parts of the Olympic Peninsula to beyond the Cascade Mountains.

State officials say they’re not sure how to define “open and unclaimed.” Tribal leaders argue that the treaty preserved their cultural practices, which included hunting throughout Western Washington.