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Closures Planned For Karuk Ceremonies At Klamath And Six Rivers National Forests

United States Forest Service

Out of respect for the Karuk Tribe’s annual observance of cultural ceremonies, parts of the Klamath River and two national forests will be closed to the public for periods during the upcoming months.

The Karuk Tribe has been conducting their traditional ceremonies along the Klamath River in Northern California for many generations. Some of the ceremonial practices involved in their annual World Renewal Ceremonies require solitude. In the past, the tribe has often had conflicts with boisterous park visitors disrupting the ceremonies.

Bill Tripp is the director of natural resources and environmental policy for the Karuk tribe.

"It’s kind of the equivalent of, say someone walked into church and started yelling and screaming around or something," says Tripp. "It’s kind of that same concept, except church doesn’t really require complete solitude like some of our activities do."

About 20 years ago, the Karuk tribe started government-to-government meetings with the Forest Service. These meetings led to a law enabling the Forest Service to impose temporary closures for traditional and cultural purposes.

On July 20, signs will be posted in the Six Rivers and Klamath National Forests to let users know where and when they are allowed to launch their boats.