Beach trail opened, land dispute still unresolved

Saturday, April 15, 2007

Peninsula News Network

The Quileute Tribe has allowed Olympic National Park to re-open the popular Second Beach trail.

But the broader dispute over the reservation boundary, and how to move tribal members out of the coastal tsunami zone, remain unresolved.

Tribal leaders had closed the trailhead south of LaPush at the end of the summer in 2005 as the decades-old dispute over the reservation boundaries entered a new phase. While questions over the northern boundary on the opposite side of the river had simmered for years, the tribe has been increasingly concerned about moving the tribal school and other buildings out of the lower village because of fears about tsunamis.

When the tribe was told it might not be possible to adjust boundaries because those lands had been given wilderness designation without the tribe knowing about it, the Quileutes closed the Second Beach access.

However, now the tribe has agreed to re-open the beach access and this weekend the trail and parking lot were once again available for public use.

ONP Superintendent Bill Laitner is thanking the tribe for re-opening the trail, and saying federal authorities will continue to discuss possible solutions for the boundary dispute.


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