Flooding watersIn November 2012, the Native PTAC team went on a field trip to the Quinault Nation at Taholah, WA. We went to learn how the planning for  the Paddle to Quinault 2013 was going and how the Tribe could leverage their preparations into continuing economic development for the Tribe and its members.

A Harrowing Journey

The trip from our Seattle office was wet and windy. Our fearless leader, Daucey, drove the treacherous I-5 corridor, pointing out procurement and Indian related land marks and quizzing us on procurement trivia. Remember license plate bingo from when you were a kid? Like that, but with BIA, BRACs, 8(a) requirements and set-asides, to list just a few.

We grew concerned that we wouldn’t make it to the coast. Specifically, when we found the streets Aberdeen and Hoquiam flooding with 6 to 10 inches of water. We persevered, and so did Daucey’s “entertainment”. Do you know how to calculate the speed at which you can hydroplane? As a retired pilot, Daucey is well aware of the formula: nine times the square root of the tire pressure (9 x √Tire Pressure). In the vehicle we were in, that meant that at about 46 mph, we should be concerned. Thank goodness for twisty roads and standing water that kept our speed down.

Against the laws of Northwest weather, as we passed Copalis Beach, the rain was letting up. Maybe we could leave the rubber boots in the car. The rest of the drive was great and the rain stopped at Taholah! After a quick tour through the village, we met with Pearl Caoeman-Baller and Lee Wilkerson at the Round House. Moments after we arrived and sat down to our meeting, the power went out and would likely stay out the rest of the day. But this didn’t stop us either. Her office had lovely large windows so we plugged along discussing the Tribe’s plans and needs for the Canoe Journey.

Planning for the Paddle

Planning for a Paddle takes several of years. The Tribe needs to make arrangements for accommodations for the thousands of people, vehicles and a hundred or more canoes, attending the event. They need to decide where the canoes will land and where the protocol will take place. They need to find food and plan on how and when to present it to the attendees. Don’t forget one of the most important details: what type of facilities, programs, transportation, trash cans, restrooms and other sundries will need to be provided to manage the throngs of people. Last, but not least, lining up funding sources and finding sponsors. These decisions can lead to jobs for tribal members and potential businesses for either the Tribe, tribal individuals or both. The work that needs done provides on the job training, creating a strong, sustainable workforce in the Tribe. This performance history can be leveraged for future government contracts. The Quinault Nation is deep in this process considering that the Paddle is a mere eight months away.

Tribes benefit from the long term investment in the community infrastructure built to support the Journeys. Among other projects, the Quinault are investing in buildings that are being raised and the land being developed at Pt Glenville. Even with the power outage, we were offered a view of the beautiful renderings of the new buildings being prepared for the event and the multistage plans to further develop the area in the coming years. These structures will become an integral part of daily life in the Quinault Nation.

Breathtaking View

Pt. Glenville is located just outside the village and above tsunami flood levels. The buildings being erected have the potential to be emergency shelters in case of catastrophic events. This creates an opportunity for ongoing emergency preparedness training. Since the sun was threatening to come out, we did end up leaving the rubber boots in the car and were able to tour the site. The unheard of seventy days of no rain this summer were an immense help to their preparation timeline.

The view was amazing from on top of the cliff. Here’s to a successful Paddle!.


Looking over the Edge of Pt. Glenville

The Landing Zone