LA PUSH, Wash. -- The U.S. House approved a bill Monday that will allow the Quileute tribe to move its school and other buildings out of a tsunami zone on the Washington coast to higher ground in Olympic National Park.
The land transfer bill gives the tribe 785 acres in the park and settles a reservation boundary dispute. In return the tribe assures access to coastal beaches that are reached by trails through tribal lands.
Following the earthquake and tsunami that devestated Japan in March, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D, Wash.) and Rep. Norm Dicks (D, Wash.) co-sponsored bills (H.R. 1162, S. 636) to move the tribal lands away from the water and out of reach of a deadly tsunami.
The Quileute Reservation covers one square mile. It is surrounded by the Olympic National Park on three sides as well as the Pacific Ocean.
La Push was among the first Washington communities to receive a tsunami warning siren, and practice evacuation drills in 2005. Still, there is only one road out of town.