Kitsap Forest & Bay: Cause to celebrate | Noo-Kayet, Our Village

On July 20, canoes taking part in the annual Canoe Journey will land on the beach at Point Julia.

On July 20, canoes taking part in the annual Canoe Journey will land on the beach at Point Julia. A landing site since our Tribe began participating in 1989, Point Julia represents the point in the journey where the Olympic Peninsula, Alaskan and Canadian tribes meet up with tribes from the south side of the Puget Sound.

Point Julia has actually become one of the favorite spots on the journey every year. Our Tribe is known for its hospitality and clambakes and we make sure our visitors have a place to camp out and food to eat. Many members of our community open their homes for showers, laundry and warm beds for elders.

From their stop in Point Julia, the canoe families (including our own) will continue their journey, eventually landing at Taholah in Quinault on Aug. 1.

The annual Canoe Journey is a time to celebrate our culture and traditions. The canoe teaches and reminds us of our core values, including personal and cultural pride as well as respect for the environment.

Canoes will begin arriving at Point Juila during the afternoon of July 20. We encourage you to come down to the beach and experience it for yourself.

Point Julia and Port Gamble Bay provide a cultural, spiritual and geographic connection to our Tribe’s ancestral village that once existed at Port Gamble. Our Tribe wants to do what it can to make sure these areas — and the Hood Canal and Puget Sound as a whole — stay strong and healthy for generations to come.

It’s with this in mind that I send a big congratulations to our partners with the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project. On May 17, during land conservation group Forterra’s annual fundraising breakfast, a crowd of more than 2,000 first heard the news: a purchase agreement has been signed with landowner Pope Resources for 535 acres of forestland and 1.5 miles of shoreline along Port Gamble Bay.

Forterra has been working with us, Pope Resources, Kitsap County and the Suquamish Tribe — all principal partners — and the Great Peninsula Conservancy to make the project’s goal of conserving almost 7,000 acres of North Kitsap forestland and 1.8 miles of Port Gamble Bay shoreline a reality.

When the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project kicked off in 2011, it seemed like a near impossible and all-too-complicated endeavor — and this is coming from someone who is very much a supporter. Truth be told, it might not have gotten as far as it has without the support of our community partners, specifically those that are a part of the Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition. These individuals and the groups they represent have worked tirelessly to promote the project and educate the community as to why preserving this land and the outdoor recreation it supports is so vital, not only to our collective overall health, but also for our economic health.

You’ve likely seen their efforts in action: They’ve been a presence at many of Port Gamble’s outdoor events as well as parades and festivals around Kitsap County. The forest of trees dancing down the street at Viking Fest? Those were our coalition friends. They’ll be participating in the Kingston and Bainbridge Island Fourth of July parades next. Great job, and I want to extend a personal thank you to coalition members for all their support.

The Kitsap Forest & Bay Project has certainly come a long way, but there’s more work to be done. I look forward to being able to celebrate further progress with you in the future.

If you’d like to learn more about the project, check out kitsapforestbay.org or Facebook.com/kitsapforestbay.

— Jeromy Sullivan is chairman of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

 

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