State gives Huckleberry Is. to Samish

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The state has agreed to transfer ownership of Huckleberry Island, just east of Guemes island, to the Samish Island Nation. The state Parks and Recreation Commission approved the transfer this week.

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(Photo: Washington Dept. of Ecology)

The state has agreed to transfer ownership of Huckleberry Island, just east of Guemes island, to the Samish Island Nation. The state Parks and Recreation Commission approved the transfer this week.

Huckleberry is. is situated in the center of the Samish Nation's traditional territory, and is approximately 4 miles south of Samish Island, the site of the tribe's largest historical village.

As the new steward of Huckleberry Island, the tribe is committed to maintaining public day use access to the island, which is frequently visited and explored by boaters and kayakers. The Samish Nation intends to develop an inventory of plant species on the island, and assess the impacts of invasive species.

Tribal Chairman Tom Wooten declared, "After 5 years of vigorous work on this endeavor, the Washington State Parks Commission has made a wonderful decision to transfer Huckleberry Island back to the Samish Indian Nation as part of our Homeland."

"On behalf of the Samish Indian Nation, I would like to thank the Washington State Parks Commission for acknowledging the cultural basis and long history of our connection with Huckleberry Island. The Tribe intends to make it a place where the people of Washington State can go to enjoy and appreciate the history of this beautiful island," he added.

Tribal attorney Craig Dorsay concurred, "This decision reconfirms the long-standing positive relationship between Washington State Parks and the Samish Indian Nation."