Around the Sound: A great day at the bay!

Thursday was a powerful day at Port Gamble Bay.

Man speaking with microphone in front of crowd, holding left hand in air with a closed fist.

Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribal Chairman Jeromy Sullivan

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe held an amazing blessing ceremony today for a coming, major cleanup of in-water sediments in the bay. The tribe has lived on the bay's shores for generations, and will for generations to come. It is their heritage.

Today's ceremony was held on the former Pope & Talbot mill site. The mill operated in and around the bay for over 140 years, and left a legacy of pollution. And now it's time to clean up that contamination.

Lots of thanks

Large canoe on water with nine tribe members holding oars, wearing black and red.

Canoe team members prepare to leave the ceremony.

Current mill site owner Pope Resources is the main responsible party and will pay for the cleanup work. The company has stepped up, and current President and CEO Tom Ringo spoke about how committed his company is to the cleanup.

Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark, who helms the Department of Natural of Resources, talked about how the Port Gamble Bay cleanup is not only important for the local community, it's an example of all the good work being done to clean up and restore Puget Sound as a whole.

Ecology's site manager for this project, Russ McMillan, talked about the great partnerships that are making this cleanup happen.

Lots of meaning

Crowd standing and watching canoe event from the sandy shore.

Tribal members serenade and salute the canoe team.

Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribal Chairman Jeromy Sullivan and Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman spoke from their hearts about how much this cleanup means to them, their people and the local environment.

And it means much to all of us who care about Washington's resources, the Sound and all of its waters that help define our quality of life.