Posts Tagged ‘native peoples’

Trinidad Beach in light fog -- Copyright 2009 Edmund Metheny

Trinidad Beach in light fog -- Copyright 2009 Edmund Metheny

A couple of weeks ago, the Crescent City Daily Triplicate introduced us to an exciting mapping project: the North Coast California Geotourism project, covering the Del Norte to Marin areas, including Lake County.

Working with the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, the North Coast Tourism Council and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are compiling a Geotourism Map Guide. The NGCSD has already contributed large databases of fascinating information to Google Earth.

The Del Norte County Visitors Bureau is exploring this opportunity to make the North Coast shine in the public’s eye, along several other ideas to attract more tourism.

So what exactly does “geotourism” mean? According to the North Coast Geotourism project site:

Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

The project team is hoping to develop an online geotourism guide and database, and perhaps a paper (poster map) version as well. I expect the database will also be available in online mapping applications like Google Maps and Google Earth.

Through an online nomination form, anyone can submit a site: natural, cultural, and historic attractions, etc. You can also download and print the PDF form and fax it to (831) 647-4244, or mail it back to BLM California Coastal National Monument, 229 Foam Street, Monterey, CA 93940.

What kind of sites get listed? Here is a list of categories to draw from:

  • Natural area (river, waterfall, botanical, geologic feature)
  • Beach, tidepool, public pier or other coastal access
  • Cultural, traditional experience, museum or site
  • Native American Heritage Sites
  • Festivals, celebration, ceremony, or event
  • Historic site (fort, cemetery, church, shipwreck, etc.)
  • Arts, artisan, or handicrafts
  • Outdoor recreation (hiking, biking, kayaking, etc.)
  • Music, dance, theater, storytelling, etc.
  • Accommodation (B&B, lodge)
  • Culinary, cuisine (restaurant, café, wine bar, brew pub)
  • Visual attraction (scenic overlook, photo point, etc.)
  • Farm, agriculture, ranch, winery, etc.
  • Redwoods theme (hikes, groves, restoration, etc.)
  • Wildlife habitat and/or wildlife viewing
  • Locally or family-owned business
  • Scenic byway or drive
  • Eco-friendly (fish-friendly farming, carbon neutral, etc.)
  • Salmon theme (fish viewing area, hatchery, restoration efforts, river float trips, exhibits, etc. )

So why not take a few hours to sit with family or friends some weekend this month, list your favourite sites, and fill the form together to brag about the local “best kept secrets”? The form is very simple and there is even an example of filled form available on the Website to help guide answers.

The deadline for nominations was first set for March 30, but has been extended to May 31, 2009. For questions, call Marcia deChadenedes, Project Coordinator at 831-372-6225.

Links of interest:


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Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Klamath River, by prentz -- Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

River of Renewal — Stephen Most and Jack Kohler’s film — will be screening this week and weekend in the area:

  • Thursday, Feb. 5 — at HSU Library “fishbowl” (Room 209) at 4 pm (book signing and talk); 5:30 for screening in Founders Hall Room 118
  • Friday, Feb. 6 — at the Yurok Tribal Headquarters in Klamath at 6 pm
  • Saturday, Feb 7 — at College of Redwoods Campus, Crescent City at 7 pm (photographer Thomas B. Dunklin will be screening University of Washington salmon footage before the film)
  • Sunday, Feb 8 — at Westhaven Center for the Arts at 7 pm

The movie is a documentary on the Klamath River focus on the down-river story, as well as current issues and perspectives. It reportedly includes footage of the Salmon War (1978), plus interviews with tribal elders, council members, and fishermen.

Links of interest:

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klamathupriverThe Karuk Tribe, California Trout and the Sierra Fund have  petitioned the California Department of Fish and Game to impose emergency rules on suction dredge mining for gold in Klamath River basin streams, according to an article in the Times-Standard on Friday.

Suction dredge mining destroys fish spawning and rearing habitat, particularly for the vulnerable — and valuable — trout and salmon.  Not only does it physically disturb the gravel, pools, woody debris, and other habitat features used by the fish to lay eggs and spend the early stages of their life, but it also disturbs older bottom sediments that were mixed in with mining wastes in the earlier days of mining in the Klamath basin.

Older mining processes were more damaging to the environment, using substances such as mercury, and leaving high concentrations of metals in tailings that were discharged to streams.  Over the years, the commingled sediment and mining wastes have been covered by fresh, uncontaminated (or less contaminated) sediment from the upper reaches of the watershed, but the suction dredging exposes the older contamination anew.

The alliance of conservationist groups and California tribes won a court ruling in 2006 that pressed CDFG to create new rules, but in a bold use of regulations against their original intent, gold mining interests then delayed the changes by arguing rule-making must follow the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process.  CEQA demands that all state projects be reviewed for their environmental impacts, and that these impacts be mitigated as far as reasonably feasible.

Naturally, CEQA was intended to protect the environment from exactly the type of impacts the current dredge mining create but because changing the rules now constitutes a new project, the review requirements were used to slow the process, forcing a public review to evaluate the environmental impacts of tightening the rules!  CEQA does allow a special process for emergency actions, which is why the environmentalist coalition is asking the emergency rules.

Some things don’t seem to change.  Pretty much the first contact that  Northern California tribes have had with the U.S. and other recent immigrants to this continent was with the 49ers, gold prospectors of the mid-19th century.  No, things didn’t go well back then either.

The gold mining interests have now joined forces with other proponents of unfettered natural resource extraction in the watershed and are cultivating the image of the small lone guy out to carve his birthright from the hostile wilderness (and the even more hostile tree-huggers), but this Manifest Destiny is actually backed by quite a bit of economic momentum.

The price of gold has been rising madly in the last decade and as the North Coast Journal points out, is expected to rise strongly in 2009 despite a drop in 2008. Meanwhile, CDFG’s revision of the rules is entirely dependant on whether it gets funding for it in the state budget.  Moreover, the rise in the price of gold actually cost the state money in personnel and effort to process permits.

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Copyright 2006 Sophie Lagacé

Copyright 2006 Sophie Lagacé

I dropped by my new office last week to say hello and ask about what projects I’ll start on when I begin next week. Interestingly for me, it looks like my last nine years of experience working with 25 Native tribes or tribal organizations will serve me well: the company is working on the permitting and design of a remediation project that involves, among other stakeholders, a tribe. And everyone told me: “We could really have used you this summer!” as they are just wrapping up the permitting phase and found it convoluted and frustrating.

Tribal work rarely registers on environmental engineers, scientists, and planners’ radar screen. Consultants tend to think of tribes as a small local government like a county or city, and treat their projects as “business as usual.” In addition, funding is often a challenge for tribes, so the long wait between phases and funding cycles can be discouraging. In truth, most consultants are woefully unprepared to work with tribes, and consequently provide them with unsatisfactory service.


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Canoe Journey 2006 - Copyright Sophie Lagacé, 2006

Canoe Journey 2006

Every year since 1993, dozens of Native tribes and First Nations from the Pacific Northwest, from British Columbia to Washington, gather for the Tribal Canoe Journey. This year, a partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council will result in five of the hundred or so canoes participating in the Journey being equipped with water-quality recording equipment.

Not only are the gliding canoes far less disruptive than motor boats when recording water parameters, but this will also provide direct, real-time, real-place data on the waters that are of high concern to Native nations living on, in, and from the Puget Sound.

Every year, a different tribe hosts the Journey’s end.  This year’s Canoe Journey is hosted by the Cowichan First Nation in Duncan, British Columbia.  I was at the arrival and potlatch for the 2006 edition, hosted by the Muckleshoot Tribe; it was a wonderful event.  I was sorry to miss last year’s arrival at Lummi Island but my husband did go.  The 2009 event will be hosted by the Suquamish Tribe and the 2010 by the Makah.  I hope to see these arrival ceremonies!  If you have a chance to see the canoes as the pass a nearby coastal town, seize it; it doesn’t last long and it’s beautiful.

And this year, it even provides data.


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