Washington State Parks will sell a former state park on Squaxin Island to the Squaxin Island Tribe. The Tribe owns a significant portion of Squaxin Island and the tidelands making the 31.4 acre State Parks-owned uplands not accessible to the public. The Kitsap Sun reported last week that the parks commission unanimously approved the sale to the tribe for $45,000.
Squaxin Island is in South Puget Sound near the heads of Totten, Eld and Budd inlets. State Parks acquired the upland acreage from the same seller in three separate transactions between 1961 and 1965, for a total of $66,500. In 1961, the Tribe began allowing public access over the tidelands. In the 1980s, State Parks received grants to construct a dock and to place moorage buoys at the site, and for several years, the location was popular with South Sound boaters. Annual visits ranged between 8,000 and 10,000, including day use and camping visitors. In 1993, the Tribe discontinued public access over the tidelands.
In 2005, the Squaxin Island property was determined by the Commission to be inconsistent with State Parks’ Centennial 2013 Vision and not advantageous for park uses, making it available for exchange or sale.
The State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) helped facilitate the sale to the Tribe using appraised values agreed to between the Tribe and DNR in that agency’s recent trust land negotiation.