Cultural Resource Protection and Management Plan

by: Jim Freed, WSU Extension Forester and Sherri Felix, DNR Forest Practices Policy Analyst

cultural resources

Photo: Pictograph known as “She Who Watches”, Tsagaglalal. Located on basalt outcrop overlooking the Columbia River.

The Cultural Resource Protection and Management Plan (CRPMP) (2003, updated 2008) is the Forest Practices Board’s (Board) voluntary cooperative approach to protection and management of cultural resources on privately owned and state managed forest lands in Washington.

The CRPMP establishes the tribal, forest landowner, and state agency response to the cultural resource planning, protection, and management commitments in both the 1987 Washington State Timber/Fish/Wildlife (TFW) Agreement and the 1999 Forests & Fish Report.  The state’s Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan approved by the federal services in 2005 includes the CRPMP. The Board’s TFW Cultural Resources Roundtable implements the CRPMP and reports annually to the Board, on behalf of WDNR, on how this voluntary cooperative protection approach for cultural resources is working.

The CRPMP’s basic functions are to increase communication and mutual respect between landowners and tribes, to provide educational opportunities to foster trust, commitment, and understanding, and to develop cooperative processes to protect and manage cultural resources. More specifically, the four main purposes of the CRPMP are as follows:

  1.  Provide for the protection and management of cultural resources that are significant to the history and cultures of the people of Washington State, and which are located on state, private and non-federal forest lands.
  2. Establish and maintain productive communications among agencies, forest landowners, land managers, and affected tribes.
  3. Ensure cultural resource protection is accomplished through the development of cooperative processes.
  4. Improve access to tribal cultural resources so that the affected tribes have a better opportunity to maintain and perpetuate their traditional values and practices.

What are the cultural resources that the CRPMP seeks to protect/manage when private landowners perform forestry work in their family forest?

  1. Historical Sites are locations where Native and non-Native events and activities have taken place since contact with Euro-Americans.  Examples are homesteads, forts, lumber mills, and cabins.
  2. Traditional Places are landscapes, sacred sites, legendary areas, indigenous uses and objects which are identified by Indian tribes of Washington State as being important.  Examples are sacred ceremonial sites, groves used for gathering edible/medicinal plants and sources of materials used for traditional tools and arts.
  3. Traditional Materials are the resources used by Native peoples to sustain their culture.  Traditional and current cultural values for plants include their use as medicines, foods, tools, textiles, building materials, carvings, and sacred objects.  Examples are bear grass, tule, cedar and birch trees.
  4. Archaeological resources provide evidence of the cultural continuum of people occurring across time and space throughout the diverse landscapes of Washington. These resources demonstrate the variety of activities engaged in by tribal ancestors which still continues today.  Examples are shell middens, lithic scatters, rock paintings, talus slope gravesites and culturally modified trees and their locations.

To protect these valued resources the families who own and manage forest lands in the state of Washington should take steps to identify all potential cultural resources on their lands.  The identification and inclusion of a plan to protect and enhance cultural resources should be part of every Forest Stewardship Plan. The stewardship foresters with WDNR and the Extension foresters with WSU can assist private forest landowners with developing plans designed to protect cultural resources. This will also help ensure your plan meets the state and federal laws that protect cultural resources. 

To access the state’s searchable cultural database and for more information on state and federal laws,  go to the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) website at www.dahp.wa.gov .   You can also contact DAHP at (360) 586-3065. For information on the forest practices rules and to find out which tribes are in your area, contact the Forest Practices staff at your local DNR Region Office.