AUBURN — The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has acquired more than 150 square miles of forest land, mostly in the White River forest along Highway 410 between Enumclaw and Greenwater near Mount Rainier.
The tribe plans to manage the land for long-term sustainable timber harvest, while conserving fish and wildlife habitat and area of cultural importance.
“This acquisition is another important step toward the tribe’s goals of increasing our land base, reacquiring portions of our homeland and diversifying our economy,” Muckleshoot Tribal Council Chairwoman Virginia Cross said in a statement Wednesday. “This working forest will provide jobs and revenue for important tribal government programs now and for future generations,” she said.
About 135 square miles are in the White River forest. The other 15 square miles are in northern Lewis County.
The tribe purchased the land for $313 million from the Boston investment management company Hancock Natural Resource Group, The Seattle Times reported Thursday. Hancock bought the White River forest land from Weyerhaeuser in 2002.
It’s a tribal priority to reacquire land Muckleshoot people ceded in treaties and lost through individuals selling to non-Indians, Cross said in her statement.
“The White River Forest is an important part of the tribe’s homeland,” she said. “Bringing this property into tribal ownership is the realization of a long-held goal of our people.”