Log Transfer Area
The Port Gamble Mill site, established in 1853, operated for 142 years and produced many forestry products (see Port Gamble Mill Site page for more information). Timber was brought from around the region to be processed by this mill. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) leased a piece of shoreline to Pope & Talbot to use for their operations. This leased land and a large area around it was used as a log transfer facility. Logging trucks would come to a large dock and dump their load into the water. After logs were released into the water, they were tied together into large “rafts” and held until they could be processed by the mill. The rough treatment of these logs resulted in large amounts of bark to fall off and cover the substrate. This causes two main problems; smothering aquatic benthic life and habitat, as well as releasing large amounts of ammonia and sulfides as the wood slowly decays. Although most of the affected area no longer has visible large woody debris, there still exists a thick layer of fine sediment that is the product of broken down wood, which still causes the same impacts to the environment. Many creosote pilings still exist at this site where the log rafts were secured to prevent the tides and wind from carrying them off. It is important to remove these pilings since they can still release toxins and degrade habitat. There have also been spots of cadmium present in the log transfer area, possibly from the heavy equipment used in daily operations. This site, along with the Port Gamble Mill site, have both been involved in recent remedial investigations conducted by the Department of Ecology. Possible cleanup actions will soon be discussed, which the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe will be an active part in.