The Quinault Indian Nation will reopen Lake Quinault for limited non-tribal use after nearly a year of closure due to concerns about pollution, invasive species and habitat degradation overall.
On April 14 the tribe’s Business Committee voted to reopen the body of water for a one-year trial period, subject to specific regulations and restrictions, the Quinault said in a media release. The tribe had announced the ban last April and enacted it in June.
“Since that time, numerous nearby non-tribal residents, property owners and business owners in the area have spoken out in support of the tribe’s actions, saying they appreciate the work being done by Quinault to protect the lake for future generations,” the Quinault said in the release.
“That has always been our intent,” said Quinault President Fawn Sharp in the tribe’s statement. “Safeguarding our sacred lake for our children and for all the life it sustains is one of our highest priorities. If we can achieve those objectives, and share this precious resource with our non-tribal members, that’s what we will do. We believe it is time to try.”
Under the new regulations, existing docks, platforms, piers, walkways, boat houses, boats and booms will be able to remain in place without an individual permit for one year, and they can be accessed for use for “authorized and/or permitted purposes” for one year; also authorized are swimming, wading, walking “or simply being present,” and the use of inner tubes and other such accessories. Activities subject to permit include fishing, water withdrawals, discharges into the water and dock maintenance, repair or construction, as well as boating.
Boating carries its own set of strict regulations, including inspection to ensure there are no invasive species hitching a ride; no towing for water skiing or other such “recreational devices,” and no jet boats, jet skis or wetbikes. Fishing carries regulations as well.