PORT TOWNSEND — Interpretive signs will be placed at 16 sites of significance as part of the Chetzemoka Trail, a collaborative effort between the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Port Townsend’s Native Connections Action Group.
Celeste Dybeck, a tribal elder, and Lys Burden, the primary planner from the action group, provided an update Monday during the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s semi-monthly luncheon at the Elks Club.
Chief Chetzemoka lived in Port Townsend with his two wives until his tribe was forced to leave the Qatay village in 1858.
Dybeck and Burden spoke about the trail and its use of existing resources, including backroads and sidewalks.
“The purpose of the interpretive trail is to tell the story of Chetzemoka in a visual and physical way,” Burden said.
There will be loops of 3, 6 and 12 miles that extend from downtown Port Townsend to Kah Tai Lagoon Park, to the Laurel Grove Cemetery, where Chetzemoka is buried, and then past the Port Townsend Golf Course and high school to North Beach and Fort Worden State Park.
The trail, with portions available for walking, bicycling or driving, has been endorsed by the city of Port Townsend, the Jefferson County Historical Society and the Port of Port Townsend.
Each of the interpretive signs will be 38 inches by 66 inches — about 3 feet wide and 5½ feet tall — and provide a snapshot of culture and history.
Burden said the tribe is obtaining permits and funding two large map kiosks, and it will host a website with more stories and photos available with QR codes that will be placed on the signs.
The action group is raising funds to pay for the signs, as well as their installation and maintenance.
Initially, the group wanted to use the same material used to manufacture road signs, but Burden said they will instead come from a thick aluminum with a specialized top that looks like a carved salmon.
The trail also will feature a carved totem pole that will be placed at the Northwest Maritime Center. Dybeck said the top of the totem will be a carver, followed by the spirit of a cedar tree, and Chetzemoka in a welcoming position will be on the bottom.
The action group expects the signs will be produced this month and installed in May. An opening ceremony with a ribbon-cutting, including descendants of Chetzemoka, is planned for 1 p.m. June 29 at Memorial Field, 550 Washington St., Port Townsend.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at [email protected].