Quileute will share Coast Guard tower rising in LaPush

LAPUSH — The U.S. Coast Guard is bringing its disaster response services into the 21st century, and the Quileute tribe is along for the ride.

A new communication tower, being built next to the tribe’s A-Ka-Lat Center at 1 Bay-Yak Way, in LaPush will serve both the Coast Guard and tribe.

The Coast Guard commissioned the tower as part of it’s Rescue 21 project, a $710 million, nationwide overhaul of the agency’s 30-year-old communications system.

A total of 270 U.S. Coast Guard sites will be updated by 2011 through the Rescue 21 project.

“Our whole thing with Rescue 21 is to eliminate gaps in coverage,” said Chief Petty Officer Revis Rose.

Rose is overseeing the implementation of Rescue 21 systems in the Pacific Northwest, including 10 Coast Guard sites along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound.

Communication towers being updated on the North Olympic Peninsula, in addition to LaPush, are Bahokus Mountain near Neah Bay, Striped Peak outside of Joyce and Maynard Peak in the Olympic Mountains south of Sequim.

Tribe gets use

What makes the tower in LaPush different than the others is that the tribe will be able to use a part of it for its own communication purposes through a land-lease agreement.

“The tribe entered into a contract that is mutually beneficial for the community and the tribe,” said Quileute legal representative Paul Siewell.

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