Land & People & Lifestyle
Port Gamble Bay, ancestral home
of the Port Gamble S'Klallams,
as the early morning dawns.
Land and Port Gamble Bay The Port Gamble S'Klallam Reservation consists of approximately 1,700 acres of land held in trust by the federal government. There is no private land ownership on the reservation. Most of the land is in forestry with residential, business, and office areas. The reservation receives approximately 20 inches of rain per year due to its location in the Olympic Mountain rain shadow. The reservation lands rise from the beach to a gently rolling terrain. Bear, deer and other wildlife also live on the reservation. The Tribe has acquired three pieces of land that are adjacent to the reservation. The major piece, nearly 400 acres, is primarily forested, with some young trees planted a few years ago.
Port Gamble Bay is one of Kitsap's largest and most productive bays. On a sunny day the water sparkles and shines, never revealing the decades of pollution that have weakened this gem's eco-system. There are many causes for the havoc, but much of the Bay's toxic history can be traced back to the Pope & Talbot-owned sawmill, which employed many members of the Tribe and operated on the banks of the Bay for more than 150 years. Soon after the mill split its first piece of wood in 1853, woody debris and harmful chemicals began being deposited into the sediments. Throughout the mill's lifetime, Port Gamble Bay became the unwilling home to a host of toxic chemicals leading to it becoming one of seven Puget Sound Initiative Cleanup sites.
Since the mill's closure in 1997, some work has been done by Pope Resources and other entities to improve the situation, but major problems remain.
There is good news—Port Gamble Bay has proved to be naturally resilient. For example, it is the only bay remaining in Kitsap County and one of the last in Puget Sound still open for commercial and domestic shellfish harvesting. Port Gamble Bay has productive geoduck and shellfish populations and is home to one of the largest remaining herring stocks in the Puget Sound. Herring is a primary food source for Chinook and resident Orcas rely on the Chinook. The Tribe has a hatchery on Little Boston Creek.
Population and Employment As of Sept. 2012, there are 1,234 enrolled tribal members. Over half of tribal members reside on the reservation, and many others live adjacent to the reservation. Major employers for tribal members are: Tribal government, associated agencies/businesses of the Tribal government, individual treaty fishing enterprises, and area businesses.
Facilities All Tribal services are located on the Port Gamble S'Klallam Reservation. The Tribal Center houses a variety of administrative offices, including the Natural Resources annex. The House of Knowledge complex is next to the Tribal Center and includes the Career and Education Center, Longhouse, Elders Center and Little Boston Library. A Veterans Memorial is located on the West side of the Longhouse. The Housing Authority, medical and dental clinics and community health programs are adjacent to and across from the library. Early Childhood Programs and the Cultural Resource Building are in this area as well. At the back of the tribal campus is the Public Safety/Court/Social Services Building.
On the North Side of the Tribal Center a new Youth Center was dedicated in January, 2010. The new building features spacious areas for recreation, arts and crafts, and computer use as well as a high tech media studio and a covered outdoor patio for youth activities. It also includes two meeting/counseling rooms, staff offices, and a kitchen.
The Tribe's Wellness Programs (Mental Health, Chemical Dependency Treatment and Prevention) are located about two miles away near the south entrance to the Reservation.
"Gliding Eagle Marketplace" is located at the south entrance to the reservation and has a separate espresso stand. The new Point Casino is located on Hansville Highway, just south of Gliding Eagle Marketplace.