The Trinidad Rancheria who owns the land, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Civic Club and the Yurok Tribe to temporarily store the lighthouse, in wake of a 12 day occupation to halt the Civic Club’s original plan to move the lighthouse 22-feet.
“It’s sad to see this moving from its original location but we understand the need for change,” said Jim Baker.
Baker currently serves on Trinidad’s City Council.
“We really want to be able to work with the local Indian tribes, this is their territory. We’ve obviously made some mistakes and we want to correct those and try to create better relationships.”
The construction crew and crane arrived early morning and worked to setup the crane to move the bell and lighthouse.
Various groups of people came to see the move of this structure, which is the symbol of Trinidad. The location of the lighthouse however, is problematic and the center of controversy because it sits on the ancestral lands of the Native American Tsurai Yurok Village.
Residents of Trinidad could be seen on their lawns and lined up along the street as well as members of the Yurok and local Native American tribes.
The permanent location for the lighthouse has not yet been determined but it will be housed by the Seascape until a new location can be found.
“Today is a good day. We have been trying to get that lighthouse moved for quite a while now off of our ancient village site. I believe that this ended in a very positive manner,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke, Chairman of the Yurok Tribal Council.
O’Rourke hopes the site will be restored back to its natural state. Once the permitting process is complete, the Yurok Tribe will send their construction crew to remove the cement slabs.
“We are working with the Civic Club to educate and to build positive relationships so that we are able to talk through issues, rather than resulting to protest. It is a much better way to do things so that you are not disrupting towns.”
Four squares were cut through the light house (2 on each side) and two beams were placed through.
Metal straps were placed around the lighthouse. Straps from the crane were attached to the I-beams and the lighthouse was lifted by the crane operator.
Civic Club President Dana Hope said that the decision to move the lighthouse was twofold.
The club’s original plan to move their lighthouse 22-feet due to soil erosion was temporary, so when the alternative plan came forward it made logical sense rather than moving it twice.
“We knew that if we moved it 20 feet a lot of people would be very upset and it does not bring peace and harmony to the city of Trinidad or the County of Humboldt to do something that is going to make so many people unhappy,” said Hope.
The Civic Club says they are looking forward to healthier relationships based on mutual respect and improving communication between all stakeholders.
“Today is a major win for the village of Tsurai, the Yurok Tribe, The Rancheria and the City of Trinidad,” said Thomas Joseph II.
Joseph was one of many protectors who spent 12 days in Trinidad and one of four protectors who climbed on top of the lighthouse to halt the Civic Club’s initial plan.
It’s all our duty to protect the sacred,” he said. “And we did it.”