Snoqualmie Tribe Acquires 12,000 Acres of Ancestral Forestland in King County 

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, a federally recognized Tribe, headquartered in King County, has acquired roughly 12,000 acres of its ancestral forestlands in the Tolt River Watershed.

The forest has significant cultural, historical, environmental, and economic value to the Tribe. It is near the lands originally promised to the Tribe as its reservation by the federal government in the 1930s – a promise the United States did not keep.

The lands acquired by the Tribe were managed for industrial timber purposes for over a century. By acquiring these lands, the Tribe is concluding a decades-long effort to reclaim ownership in an area that is enormously important to the Tribe. 

“Because of this purchase, roughly 12,000 acres of the ancestral lands of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe are being returned to the People who have loved, cared for, cultivated, and protected them since the beginning of time, and who dearly felt their loss for over a century,” said Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert de los Angeles. “Going forward, our Tribe will sustainably manage these lands to produce revenue for our Tribe while we steward the functioning ecosystems and thriving wildlife populations that have shared these lands with our People since time immemorial.” 

Photo courtesy of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe

“Caring for these lands is the sacred duty given to our Tribe by the Creator, and no one can do it better,” concluded Chairman de los Angeles.  

The Tribe intends to continue to sustainably harvest timber on the property as part of a larger holistic plan to manage key ecosystems, support the diversity of native plant species and wildlife populations, and protect and build upon the Tribe’s cultural heritage and ancient connection to the site. The Tribe has named the property the Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Forest. The acquisition follows Snoqualmie’s $125 million deal in 2019 to acquire Salish Lodge and Spa and the surrounding lands adjacent to Snoqualmie Falls, the Snoqualmie Tribe’s most sacred site.  

The acquisition was approved by the Snoqualmie Tribal Council and by a super-majority of the Tribe’s citizens. The early stages of the acquisition were facilitated by Forterra, a nonprofit environmental group that also provided transaction assistance. Campbell Global, LLC managed the sales process on behalf of the previous landowner.  

Chairman and CEO John Gilleland shared, “We have great respect for the people of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe. They are committed to their heritage. It is an honor to be a part of the forestlands now being under their stewardship. We are looking forward to having the Snoqualmie Tribe as a neighbor and deepening our existing relationship.” 

“I congratulate the Snoqualmie Tribe on a major land acquisition and victory for conservation in our region,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The Snoqualmie Tribe has provided leadership on important economic and cultural challenges, including the emergency work to restore the Lake Sammamish Kokanee. Today’s bold action affirms the Tribe’s strong commitment to protecting water quality and restoring habitat, contributing to the collective action we’re taking throughout local watersheds.” 

Comments

  1. Good to learn about this news. Congrats.

  2. stephen matlock says

    This is great news for everyone. Grateful to see the tribe prospering.

  3. Is there a map indicating where on the Tolt river do the Snoqualmie Tribe now own?

  4. Are they going to put up no trespassing signs like they did in the woods next to the Salish’s upper parking lot? You know, the woods that locals have been walking and riding horses in for-EVER?

    • Oh the irony of this statement. Your words smack of white privilege. You are a squatter on the land of the Snoqualmie People, who have been here way longer than you have. They have been and should continue to be the stewards of this land.

      • Those were questions, not statements. And I’m not white. As for being ‘stewards of this land’, according to Jaime Martin the parcel is going to continue to be harvested. That’s PC speak for logged. To the issue of restricting access to their lands, the non-Snoqualmies have no trouble sharing their money with the tribe at the Salish and the casino (no “keep out” signs there!) – the least they could do is let us share their woods.

  5. Really excited to hear this news! I live on ancestral Snoqualmie lands near the Tolt River and am so glad to see the Snoqualmie People’s rights to this land being restored. I love how Robert de Los Angeles phrases it as land “being returned to the People who have loved, cared for, cultivated, and protected them since the beginning of time, and who dearly felt their loss for over a century,”

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