Community Environment Government

City sets out plan for txwaalqet Conservation Area

Posted on May 30th, 2024 By:

In one of its shortest meetings in memory — less than 24 minutes — the Gig Harbor City Council approved a property management plan for the txwaalqet Conservation Area on Tuesday, May 28.

txwaalqet Conservation Area

The property management plan allows passive recreational uses of the conservation area. Those include walking and wildlife viewing, creation of a trail, removal of invasive and hazardous vegetation and installation of signage. The agreement guarantees traditional gathering rights for the Puyallup Tribe.

In 2022, the city acquired 35.39 acres of land in the North Creek/Donkey Creek area in 2022, thanks to funding from Pierce County Conservation Futures and the Puyallup Tribe. The city named the property the txwaalqet Conservation Area to honor the name of the historic village located there that was home to the sxwəbabč band of the Puyallup Tribe. In the tribe’s Lushootseed language, txwaalqet means “a place where game exists.”

The management plan covers the portion of the conservation area identified as critical habitat for fish. The plan also paves the way for acquisition of additional land in the area, with help from the Great Peninsula Conservancy.

Location of the new txwaalqet Conservation Area.

The tribe confirmed that the site would have been vital to everyday life of its ancestors. There is a “high likelihood” of archaeological and cultural artifacts being present at the site. The city and tribe will partner to preserve anything of historical significance.

Trail signs

As part of the land acquisition deal and the property management plan, the city will install signs recognizing Richard H. Shaw, the former owner of part of the land.

The city, tribe and Harbor History Museum will create educational signage about tribal history and cultural influences in the area. Signage will also identify native plants with their Lushootseed names.

Future plans

Future plans also call for connecting new trails in the property with the existing Cushman Trail and replacing the North Creek culvert with a pedestrian bridge.

Next council meetings

The council met for a study session at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 30, to review a proposed six-year transportation improvement plan for 2025-30, a feasibility study for Lift Station No. 5 and the city budget. The next regular council meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 10, at the Civic Center on Grandview Street.