(photo courtesy of Annette Nesse)
Meet Annette Nesse. Until her retirement in 2018 (and change of role to part-time Transportation Program Manager), Annette was the Chief Operating Officer of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe whose tribal lands are located on the northern Olympic Peninsula of Washington State and feature a tribal center, a casino, a market, and now a new hotel (just opened August 9, 2020). Four non-contiguous sections of the 130-mile Olympia Discovery Trail, known also as the Pathway to the Pacific, run through their tribal campus. Staff, youth and elders all use it for recreation and commuting. A colleague gave Annette an idea. What if the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe could become certified by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle Friendly Community?
Annette spearheaded the arduous process of completing the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community application in 2015. Turns out that the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe was the first native tribe in the United States to apply — and the first to be awarded certification (you can view their report card here). The tribe was no stranger to being first. It was the first tribe in the nation to build a tunnel under a highway, and one of the first in the self-governance movement. As Annette told me:
“I was shocked to learn that Washington State has the largest bike tourism numbers in the country. We depend on tourism on our tribal land, and so I thought maybe this could help us. The application process itself really forced us to take our inventory. The feedback from our application when we were awarded Bronze provided concrete suggestions for what would take us to Silver. We just recently reapplied and were awarded Bronze again. We had added additional trail segments but the certification relies on other factors as well, such as policy creation and educational programs, so those are next.”
Annette feels like having the Bicycle Friendly Community certification has increased the tribe’s position with regional planning efforts, plus she has been asked to do some presentations to other tribes considering pursuing the designation. There’s another tangible example of success as well. Annette said:
“The new hotel at the casino offers bikes to rent.”
Let the bike tourism begin. (Book your stay at the $40 million, five-story 7 Cedars Hotel.)
Tap in every day in August for my “You Go, Girl” series showcasing 31 Women in 31 Days who are making it more welcoming to ride bikes in the USA. If interested, you may enjoy my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike. All proceeds from the sale of my book help more women and girls ride bikes.
The complete series:
10. Meet Irene Lutts
14. Meet Jenn Dice
17 -26. Meet 10 Women Who Wrote Bike Books I Love
28. Meet Megan Ramey
30. Meet Aly Nicklas