Press Release
Smith River, CA-The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation and the Smith River Fire Protection District have announced a new agreement for initial Emergency Medical Services and Fire Protection Services. The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation (Nation) has been working with the Smith River Fire Protection District (District) on an Intergovernmental Agreement to provide Basic Life Support and Fire Services on the Nation’s Trust lands in the northern part of Del Norte County. This agreement ensures that basic life support and wildland and structural fire services will continue to be provided to the Nation’s citizens and visitors to Tribal Trust lands. As part of this agreement the Nation will continue to make annual payments to Smith River Fire Protection District and will work collaboratively to improve fire services within the District.

“This agreement will continue to ensure the safety of our Tribal citizens along with the many visitors to our area and Lucky 7 Enterprise properties”, said Tribal Chairperson Leann McCallum.

Additional inquiries can be addressed to Troy Ralstin, Executive Director, at 707-487-9255 or exdirector@tolowa-nsn.gov.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 5, 2021
Smith River, CA

CITIZEN NOTICE – Smith River Fire Protection District Negotiations Update
The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation (“Nation”) was alarmed this morning to see the Smith River Fire Protection District’s (“District”) Facebook announcement (“Announcement”) which included a number of inaccurate statements and has needlessly alarmed the citizens of Smith River.


The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation has been in a cooperative agreement with the District for nearly twenty years, and has increased the amount provided to the District to reflect the increased valuations of Tribal Lands.


May 2020, the Nation received a request to pay annually $150,000, an amount over twenty (20) times previous year’s payments, in addition to several other expenses to be borne by the Nation. Included in these additional expenses was the requirement that in the third year of the agreement the Nation was to provide the District $250,000 to be used solely for the conversion of its recently purchased building (the former Ray’s Food Place in Smith River) into its new headquarters. This massive increase has
triggered a lengthy negotiation between the Nation and the District, which is ongoing.


In a meeting with the District, the Nation attempted to ascertain how the District had arrived at the proposed increase in costs. The District was proposing to create a new methodology for calculating fire protection costs. The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation would be the only organization subject to this new methodology. This is patently unfair. The District’s response was that other “taxpayers” are protected by law, and that they cannot change the methodology used for them. The Nation and many of its Tribal Members are citizens of Del Norte County and pay taxes. If the District finds it needs to change the methodology under which its fees are generated, the Nation suggests doing as others have done and taking the proposal to voters of the District.


The Nation’s most recent counter-proposal included an annual payment of $11,101, which is an amount equitable to the taxes the District would receive from the Nation were the Nation’s properties subject to taxation by Del Norte County. Additionally, to make the District whole, the Nation proposed a back payment of $18,750 to the District for services from July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020. The Nation hopes to continue to refine this number in relation to the valuation of its landholdings, and to provide a
fair and equitable payment to the Smith River Fire Protection District.


While the Nation wishes to continue good faith negotiations, and to pay its equitable share for fire protection services, the entire cost of fire services for Smith River cannot be built on the backs of the citizens of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation.


The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation continues to explore all legal and governmental avenues available to it, to ensure the safety of its Tribal Citizens and visitors.

Additional inquiries can be addressed to Troy Ralstin, Executive Director, at 707-487-9255 or exdirector@tolowa-nsn.gov.

Dominie Creek Bridge Update

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation maintains a government to government relationship with many state and federal agencies. One of those agencies is the CA Department of Transportation (Caltrans). There are many moving parts to Caltrans projects which include: Planning, Biological/Natural Resources, TERO and Cultural Resources. One project currently underway in our ancestral territory, and directly below our K’vsh-chu Administration Office on Rowdy Creek Rd., is the construction of the new Dominie Creek Bridge. This new bridge is replacing an old dilapidated box culvert as mitigation for the Dr. Fine Bridge Replacement Project.

 


The working relationship the Tribe has built with Caltrans has allowed for the opportunity to incorporate Tolowa design elements into the new bridge structure. The Tribal Historic Preservation Office and Waa-tr’vslh-’a~ (Culture) Committee worked closely with the Caltrans Cultural Resource and Landscape Architect staff to include a design of lhuk (salmon) and friendship basketry pattern on each end of the bridge. (See photo simulation of the design to the right.)


This design is inspired by the fact that tr’ee-ghii~-li~ (creeks), such as Dominie, are critical for salmon and trout spawning. Along with Dominie Creek, Rowdy Creek has been recognized by NOAA Fisheries as a tributary of particular importance to rebuild the Coho Salmon population in the Smith River basin. It has also been documented by numerous studies as supporting a variety of special-status species including Chinook Salmon, Steelhead, Coastal Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Pacific Lamprey and other aquatic species. Since 1972, access by fish and other aquatic species to thirteen (13) miles of combined habitat on Rowdy and Dominie Creeks has been significantly reduced or completely blocked due to the presence of the in-channel infrastructure at Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery. The purpose of Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation’s Rowdy and Dominie Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project is to remove and replace Hatchery infrastructure in order to restore passage to fish and other aquatic species on Rowdy and Dominie Creeks.

This project in combination with the new Dominie Creek Bridge will be a wonderful restoration effort in Del Norte to improve fish passage to important spawning habitat. To learn more about Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery please visit: rowdycreek.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 23, 2021
Smith River, CA
#RezRanchLandBack
Contact: Troy Ralstin Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Executive Director, (707) 487-9255 x1220
Download Press Release

As the original inhabitants and stewards of the Smith River Plain an  Estuary the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation has been presented with a quintessential opportunity to return a critical portion of our unceded ancestral territory back under the rightful ownership and management of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation. Reservation Ranch is located on the lower Smith River, and lies in the heart of the original 40,000 acre Smith River Indian Reservation of 1862. This land was secured by our ancestors through negotiations with California State Representatives who signed a Peace Treaty in 1855; however, neither the 1855 Treaty nor the 1862 Reservation were upheld, forcing our people to relocate from their homes and sacred place of Genesis. The property is currently for sale by the long-standing owners and is the subject of regulatory oversight for alleged extensive and egregious
California Coastal Act, California State Water Resources Control Board, and National Marine Fisheries Services violations resulting from current and past land management activities.


The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation is actively seeking support, allies and comments to assist in the reclamation of this sacred land for the purposes of restoring the natural habitat and diverse ecosystems, resulting in the protection and perpetuation of natural and cultural resources. Please visit our StoryMap (linked below) to learn more about the historical and cultural significance of this land and the extensive environmental issues that must be rectified. To express your support please contact the Nation via email: stewardship@tolowa.com; or in writing:
140 Rowdy Creek Rd. Smith River, CA 95567.

https://www.tolowa-nsn.gov/reservationranch/

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