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The tour rambles across the Nisqually River and through a park-like forest that fringes the brow of a bluff overlooking Puget Sound and the channels of Nisqually Flats. Nisqually, is on the delta of the river. Little of the scattered settlement, except a tiny railroad station, can be seen from the highway.

The Nisqually Tribe is located on the Nisqually River in rural Thurston County, 15 miles east of Olympia. As of 2005, the Tribe had a service area population of more than 10,000 Native Americans. The Nisqually people have lived in the watershed for thousands of years. According to legend, the Squalli-absch (modern Nisqually ancestors) came north from the Great Basin, crossed the Cascade Mountain Range and erected their first village in a basin now known as Skate Creek, just outside the Nisqually River Watershed’s southern boundary. The Tribe is the prime steward of the Nisqually River fisheries resources, and operate fish hatcheries on Clear Creek and Kalama Creek.

Medicine Creek Park once existed in the area with a large sign that marked the place where once stood the treaty trees, under which, after a three-day council at Christmas time, 1854, Governor Stevens and the Nisqually, Puyallup, and Squaxon Indian tribes signed the Medicine Creek Treaty.


1936 view of the grading for the Nisqually grade of Interstate 5 as it drops down to the Nisqually River.