SWINOMISH INDIAN TRIBAL COMMUNITY — The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community has received a federal conservation grant it plans to use for habitat research on the “relatively untouched” Kukutali Preserve on the west side of the reservation.
The tribe netted about $200,000 of the $4.2 million distributed across the U.S. The habitat research will help determine future public access to the 118 acres of tidelands, uplands and old growth forests, which includes Kiket Island and surrounding areas, and inform restoration projects to come.
The Swinomish jointly purchased the land with Washington State Parks and Recreation in June 2010, and the two manage the preserve together, said tribal attorney Emily Hutchinson, who also serves as the tribe’s adviser to the Kukutali Management Board.
Public access to the preserve is limited to group tours that are offered twice every Saturday by the preserve’s caretaker.
Depending on the outcome of the studies, greater — though still limited — public access may be allowed, Hutchinson said.