Northwest Digest

Posted: Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Native canoe journey ends in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES, Wash. - One by one, dozens of Indian canoes came to shore, solemnly asking permission from the host Elwha Tribe to land at Hollywood Beach.

The pullers raised their paddles in a gesture of peace.

"We are honored to be here in your beautiful land," said the speaker for the first two craft, Aleut three-person sealskin bidarkas from St. Paul Island, Alaska.

"It is a very good day you have arrived here at Tse-whit-zen," came the answer. "We are here to remember our sacred ancestors on this day. Come ashore, come ashore, my friends."

About 70 Indian tribes from across the Northwest were represented at the annual Paddle Journey, which kicks off a weekend of cultural activities.

Tse-whit-zen, which dates back about 2,700 years, was exposed in 2003 and 2004 during excavation for a state construction site. Construction was halted for good in December after more than 300 skeletons had been exhumed and more than 10,000 artifacts sifted.

The status of the site - and the ancestral remains stored in cedar boxes - is yet to be negotiated between the state and the lower Elwha Klallam tribe.

About 3,000 people crowded Hollywood Beach and City Pier to watch the canoes' arrival.

McCain, Clinton plan Alaska visit

ANCHORAGE - A group of U.S. senators is planning a trip to Alaska in two weeks to view melting permafrost, retreating glaciers and other consequences of global climate change in cold latitudes.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who co-authored a bill to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., are scheduled to tour Alaska and northwestern Canada.

Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also are expected to make the trip, tentatively planned for Aug. 16 to 19.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens on Monday said they do not plan to join the tour. The Alaska senators oppose mandatory emission reductions included in the bipartisan Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act, written by McCain and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn.

The legislation would require a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to 2000 levels by the year 2010.

Stevens said he is skeptical that human activity is responsible for climate changes observed worldwide. Murkowski has said she does not believe scientists have conclusively demonstrated that human activity is the main cause for global warming, and mandatory emission standards could unnecessarily harm some sectors of the economy.

Barrow sees first sunset in a while

BARROW - Residents of the northernmost community in the United States saw their first sunset in almost three months.

The sun went down at 1:59 a.m. on Tuesday for the first time since May 10. It rose a little more than an hour later at 3:09 a.m.

The sunset was easily seen from shore by a handful of spectators.

"It was totally clear. It was beautiful," said Barrow resident Earl Finkler.

Some of Barrow's 4,500 residents had mixed views of the sunset, which brings with it shortening days. Naomi Itta Tomas said the sunset will help get her young daughters to sleep earlier.

"Now when we tell them it is bedtime they say, 'No, the sun is still up,"' Tomas said.

Lewanski named state parks director

JUNEAU - Jerry Lewanski has been named director of the state Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, effective Aug. 10.

Lewanski was chief ranger and then superintendent of Chugach State Park near Anchorage since 1985.

Lewanski will manage the parks division in cooperation with the numerous parks advisory boards. Park units range in size and character from the half-acre Potter Section House State Historic Site to the 1.6 million wild acres of Wood-Tikchik State Park.

The division maintains 121 park units that receive about 4 million recreation-visitor-days annually. More than 20 of the parks are now managed by private contractors.

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