Washington state park officials have approved a major land swap along Hood Canal west of Seattle that will allow Skokomish tribal members to build critically needed housing and enable improvements at popular Potlatch State Park, according to the Seattle Times.
After two years of negotiations, the state has agreed to give the tribe 30 acres of undeveloped parkland, including land to build an access road to the housing development. It also will get 34 acres of tideland on Hood Canal a mile southeast of the state park day-use area. In return, it will buy the private Minerva Beach RV resort and turn it over to the state to be added to the state park’s camping facilities.
In all, the tribe will get land worth about $818,000, while the state will get the $750,000 RV park. The difference will be made up by the tribe allowing public access to the tidelands while retaining shellfish rights.
The land swap got started when the tribe asked parks officials for use of an existing primitive service road through the state park for access to the planned tribal housing development.
“Our gut reaction was no, but then we thought about all the possible benefits at the other end if we really sat down and talked it out,” said Rex Derr, director of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
For the state, the 11-acre RV resort will give it 70 more hook-up sites, plus primitive campsites and a small store and laundry service. The property will give campers a chance to enjoy the park farther from the road noise of Route 101.
The land swap also should result in water-quality improvements because the tidelands will be restored and a sewer system will be built to serve the park and the tribal development.
The tribe is planning to build two dozen homes by next summer and a total of about 130 homes over 15 years. The tribe now has a backlog of about 100 families waiting for housing, said Tom Strong, deputy tribal manager.