The Quinault Tribal Nation opened Lake Quinault to swimming Tuesday, (by passage of the resolution by the Quinault Business Committee).
“We remain concerned about the health and safety of those who choose to swim in our lake,” said Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp. “We cannot recommend it, as we have found water quality problems associated primarily with non-tribal businesses and residences. Our Tribe cannot assume any responsibility or liability for those who choose to swim there. But we have now lifted the formal ban against it, and advise people who choose to swim there to do so at their own risk,” she said.
The lake was closed to swimming and other non-tribal activities by resolution last month due to pollution problems, unsanctioned and unsafe activities, invasive species challenges and diminished fish runs.
“Our intent is to manage our sacred lake in a way that preserves its natural integrity for generations to come,” said Sharp. “Although this might cause some inconveniences for some people, the long term values are most important. We did not cause these problems, but we will do what is necessary to remedy them,” she said.
Non-tribal boating and other recreational activities are still banned until further notice.
“People need to realize that one of the biggest challenges we face is invasive species, a very real problem that is spread by boats coming from outside the area. Challenges such as zebra and quaggua mussels may seem like remote problems to some people. They’re not remote at all. They’re here. They’re real. They’re lake killers, and the state has done little to stop their spread. Educating people about these problems will be part of the solution included in the comprehensive plan that will result from this closure,” she said.
“It is not our intent to inconvenience anyone. It is our intent to save our lake for future generations,” said Sharp.