Land Trust Transfers Land to Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe


Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Chairwoman Frances Charles presents Land Trust President Karen Westwood and Executive Director Tom Sanford an Elwha River photo as part of a ceremony honoring the land transfer.

North Olympic Land Trust is dedicated to the conservation of open spaces, local food, local resources, healthy watersheds, and recreational opportunities.

As such the organization has permanently protected over 3,200 acres of land on the Peninsula, including 750 acres of land they own. But yesterday, North Olympic Land Trust’s property holdings got a little smaller when they officially handed over the deed on 21 acres of floodplains in the lower reaches of the Elwha River to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

More than 25 tribal members were in attendance to receive the deed at the North Olympic Land Trust’s monthly board meeting. Included among the members were participants of the Lower Elwha Youth Drumming group.

“These young people are the future stewards of our community and will play a crucial role in the long term restoration of the Elwha River and therefore it is fitting that they would be in attendance”, states North Olympic Land Trust Director Tom Sanford.

Since receiving the land donation, North Olympic Land Trust has stewarded the property in partnership with the tribe as the property is directly adjacent to the reservation.

“A strong relationship has grown from this property. Over the years the Tribe has taken on more responsibility for stewarding it. Given they are the river stewards for the property to the North, it makes sense to return this property to the Tribe. We are confident they are in an excellent position to manage this land”, states Sanford.

“The Tribe and the Land Trust have a shared commitment to the restoration of the Elwha watershed, we are excited to have them take ownership”, continues Sanford.

The transfer includes a written agreement to ensure it will forever be managed for fish and wildlife habitat.