The Yurok Tribe recently acquired the Shoreline Market in Orick, California, and will soon begin building a state-of-the-art fuel mart, laundromat and Tribal government office on the nine-acre property.
The purchase is a critical component of the Tribe’s long-term plan to create jobs and a more resilient economy in the region, where a large majority of the 6,200-plus Yurok citizens reside. In the past two years, the Tribal Council has strategically invested in three new businesses within and outside of the Yurok Reservation. In 2019, the Tribe purchased the Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake, California, and is currently bringing the well-established brand to new markets. The Tribe recently acquired the Weitchpec Nursery, which will soon offer reservation residents all of the supplies needed to cultivate climate-specific vegetables and fruits. The property will also be the home base for a burgeoning food security program. The third business, Yurok Redwood Canoe Tours, was slated to open in May but the launch was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The one-of-a-kind Canoe Tours will commence in the spring of 2021, when the Tribe will be the first to provide the truly unique experience of travelling in hand-carved, traditional boats down a scenic stretch Klamath River on the Reservation.
“This (Shoreline) project is a win, win. In addition to providing important services to local residents, the business will produce new employment opportunities and serve as a source of revenue for tribal programs,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “This acquisition also represents the recovery of a significant piece of land within our ancestral territory. Bringing this land back under tribal ownership is just as important as the financial gains it will generate.”
In addition to the gas station in Orick, the Tribe owns the Pem-mey Fuel Mart in Klamath and the Pek-tah Fuel Mart in Weitchpec. The Tribe is also the proprietor of the following enterprises: Redwood Hotel Casino, Klamath Jet Boat Tours, Bluff Creek Resort, Redwood RV Park, Riverside RV Park, Requa Resort and other businesses.
The Shoreline economic development project will involve the construction of a two-story, approximately 6,000-square-foot building. The first floor of the partially solar-powered facility will house a minimart that will be filled with snacks, cold beverages and other convenient items.
The laundry mat will also be on the ground level, but it will have a separate entrance. The second story will contain offices and two conference rooms. The US Highway 101-adjacent business will offer eight unleaded and high-flow diesel fuel pumps as well as multiple electric vehicle charging stations. Once complete, the conventional fuel dispensers and electric charging stations will be open 24 hours a day. During construction, the gas pumps will remain open for local residents and others because there is only one fueling station in Orick.
The town of Orick is named after a traditional village called Owr-rekw and is roughly in the center of the Tribe’s ancestral territory on the coast, which extends from the Little River in Humboldt County to Damnation Creek in Del Norte County. For millennia, Yurok people occupied the large village until they were forced out in the late 1800s. Several Yurok families, whose roots reach back to the original village of Owr-rekw, continue to live in Orick today.
“Orick has always been a wonderful place that has been significantly under appreciated. The community and the scenery are something special and I am excited to play a small part in revitalizing economic growth here. There are many beautiful things coming in the future for Orick,” said Toby Vanlandingham, who is the Vice President of the Yurok Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors and the Weitchpec District Representative on the Yurok Tribal Council.
In July of this year, the Tribe formed an historic agreement with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to operate the Stone Lagoon Visitor Center in Humboldt Lagoons State Park. The Visitor Center and the new facility in Orick will serve as excellent platforms to promote Yurok-affiliated and locally owned businesses along the redwood coast.
“We are extremely proud to be moving in such positive direction. The actions we are taking today will secure a brighter future for the next generation,” said Raymond Bacon, the Executive Director of the Yurok Economic Development Corporation.