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First Tribe to Receive BFC Designation: Jamestown S’Klallam

Last week, we announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities. Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington state is one of the 42 new and renewing communities this round, and the new Bronze-level community is also the first tribal community to become a Bicycle Friendly Community. We caught up with Annette Nesse, Chief Operations Officer for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, to talk more about this groundbreaking award.

What does this award mean to you and to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe?

Why choose to go after this designation? Being awarded the League’s Bronze award is very exciting. The trail facilities on Tribal land are limited but very high quality, meant to appeal to cyclists and all other trail users as well. Being recognized by a national organization for our efforts is a way to get the word out that Jamestown welcomes visitors to come and enjoy what the Tribal government and its enterprises have to offer in the way of cultural, recreation, shopping and scenic experiences.

As a tribe, your local government and community set up is slightly different from some of the other community’s in the program. How does this factor into your efforts to be more bike-friendly? 

Our Tribal Citizens are well integrated into the non-Tribal community but are still a distinct, independent tribal nation. As a community we celebrate the history and culture of the Tribe, past and present. Cycling represents a modern self-reliant mode of travel that is affordable and has great health benefits. Becoming more bike friendly is a way to promote independence and fitness and advocate for outdoor recreation to our Tribal Citizens of all ages. 

What’s on the to-do list for the next year? 

We will soon have a new trail section under construction that will add .7 miles of paved trail to the Olympic Discovery Trail. We are also negotiating for property that can support an additional ½ mile trail section in the future. This award has heightened our awareness of cycling as a mode of transportation to be integrated into our transportation infrastructure in general. It is a way to transition from one mode of travel to another.

Many of your efforts are in conjunction with the local county — how does this partnership approach to bicycling boost your initiatives?

The partnership that the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe has with Clallam County, and with the towns of Sequim, Port Angeles, and Port Townsend, is amazingly effective and mutually beneficial. We respect each other’s authority but work together on projects that benefit the community as a whole. The Olympic Discovery Trail travels across the Peninsula and through or near each of these jurisdictions, making these strong partnerships an extremely effective way of promoting the trail. 

Anything else you’d like to add? 

We are anticipating the coaching from the League on how to improve our trail system and bicycling amenities so we can seek a Silver designation in four years!