Tribe fears pollution from temporary ferry during Hood Canal Bridge closure

PORT GAMBLE — Fearing that their historic shellfish beds could be polluted, Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal leaders are working with state Transportation officials to address the potential environmental effects of a temporary ferry dock for the May 2009 construction closure of Hood Canal Bridge.

“We’re concerned about the effects on reservation beaches, plus the entrances to Port Gamble and Port Gamble Bay,” said Port Gamble Tribal Chairman Ron Charles on Tuesday.

“It affects not only the tribe, but the community as a whole.”

Specifically, Charles said the tribe has told state Department of Transportation officials that a passenger ferry docking at Port Gamble planned for six weeks during the Hood Canal Bridge project could stir up pollutants at the dock site, and send them into two miles of tribal clam, oyster and geoduck beds that line the bay.

The shellfish beds are shared with regional tribes, including the Lower Elwha Klallam and the Jamestown S’Klallam in Clallam County.

The ferry dock, as proposed, would be built at the site of the former Pope and Talbot lumber mill, which operated from 1853 to 1995.

Passengers would be shuttled by ferry from South Point in Jefferson County, south of the Hood Canal Bridge, to Port Gamble.

“We’re interested in seeing the whole area cleaned up,” Charles said.

“And it’s unclear to us what the cleanup plan is.

“The tipping point that we think of is shellfish closures, which is a really delicate balance here.”

More in News

Spencer Weber
A scene from the photo archives of the Northwest Maritime Center's Race to Alaska looks deceptively serene. The 750-mile race of unmotorized watercraft from Port Townsend to Ketchikan is on again this year.
Race to Alaska ready to sail

Contest resumes after two-year hiatus

Timber sale, block grants discussed at county meetings

Government entities meet next week on North Olympic Peninsula

Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group

The Rev. ClayOla Gitane, rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, places signs and teddy bears in memory of the 21 victims of Tuesday's mass shooting in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Church hosts candlelight service for Texas school shooting victims

Prayer vigil tonight will include an interfaith service

c
NWI: Purchase protects Discovery Creek headwaters

Ninety-one acres bought from Rayonier

Dr. Gib Morrow, Dr. Allison Berry and OESD Superintendent Greg Lynch.
Public health officers honored for COVID-19 work

Greg Lynch, superintendent at the Olympic Educational Service District 114,… Continue reading

Charges to be urged after report of toy guns at schools

Students allegedly pose on campuses over weekend

Memorial Day edition available online only

Memorial Day is a federal holiday and the U.S. Postal Service does… Continue reading

Memorial Day ceremonies set Monday

Flags to be placed on veterans’ graves on Saturday

Most Read