Yurok Tribe Partners with California State Parks to Manage North Coast Redwoods

California State Parks and the Yurok Tribe signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to establish a collaborative approach to the management, preservation, and interpretation of cultural and natural resources within Yurok Tribe’s ancestral lands in the North Coast Redwoods District.

“State Parks is honored to build upon our relationship with the Yurok Tribe towards collaborative management and shared stewardship,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “When the Yurok Tribe and other California Native American Tribal Nations can access their ancestral lands and continue their cultural traditions and practices, all Californians will inevitably benefit.”

“I would like to thank California State Parks Director Armando Quintero and North Coast Redwoods District Superintendent Victor Bjelajac for taking action to correct this longstanding injustice. The agreement ensures that our culture and traditions as well as our traditional ecological knowledge will continue to be passed from one generation to the next,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “Additionally, the reintegration of tribal land management practices is essential to the long-term health of the redwood forest ecosystem.”

Photo by Spencer DeMera

The MOU will:

  • Support the integration of the Yurok Tribe’s Traditional Ecological Knowledge into natural resource management practices at state parks in the Yurok Tribe’s ancestral lands.
  • Support the maintenance of traditional cultural practices by providing Yurok Tribe tribal members access to specific state parks with their tribal identification cards. Yurok Tribe tribal members may also use their tribal identification cards to gather plant materials and minerals for traditional purposes at these parks.

Furthermore, the implementation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and traditional Yurok gathering practices will promote the sustainability of native plant species and habitats, helping address the climate and biodiversity crisis.

The MOU acts on the Governor’s formal apology to Native Americans and the Statement of Administration Policy on Native American Ancestral Lands by supporting co-management of and access to natural lands that are within the Yurok Tribe’s ancestral lands.

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