Monday August 22, 2022

Cal Poly Humboldt

Under Wiyot Tribe leadership and stewardship, the site will be prioritized for ecocultural restoration. The property is located near the present day location known as King Salmon at the base of Humboldt Hill and represents the first forestland to be returned to the Tribe.

The acquisition project was conceived of and led by the Wiyot Tribe with supporting partnerships from Cal Poly Humboldt, Humboldt Baykeeper, and Friends of the Dunes. It was made possible through a $1.2 million grant from the state Ocean Protection Council (OPC) through its Proposition 1 Grant Program. The OPC grant provided funding for the Tribe to acquire the parcel from a private landowner, representing the first time that the State of California has funded Tribal acquisition of ancestral lands as a part of the statewide effort to accelerate nature-based solutions to achieve climate change goals.

The property is one of the last pieces of undeveloped land and coastal freshwater wetlands on the historic fringe of Wigi (Humboldt Bay), surrounded by residential development on Humboldt Hill. Wiyot cultural and environmental history tell of this place being “wolf’s house.” The name of the village site – Mouralherwaqh – was told to JP Harrington in the early 20th century by Wiyot matriarch Birdie James, who commented that, “There used to be freshwater there but they have been dredging that slu [slough] there and no more fresh water there, ducks used to go there and drink water.” The late and venerable Wiyot citizen and Councilmember Linda Lange reflected on this knowledge and history when she supported the Tribe’s efforts to acquire the property. She described the site as an area that she used to visit often as a child. 

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