La Push, Quillayute River

La Push, Quillayute River

by | Jan 1, 2019

La Push is a small community located at the mouth of the Quillayute River, surrounded by Olympic National Park, in Washington State. The name is adapted from the French La Bouche, meaning “The Mouth” of the Quillayute (or Quileute) River. The Quillayute River is the traditional center of the territory of the Quileute Native Tribe, now based in La Push.

The Quileute people are known for building cedar canoes ranging in size from small two-person to large ocean-going crafts capable of carrying many people and three tons of cargo. The Quileute were expert whalers as well as seal hunters. They bred long-haired dogs and spun and wove the “wool” into clothing and blankets. In 1855, the Quileutes signed a treaty with representatives of Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens and were moved to a reservation in Taholah. In February 1889, an executive order by President Grover Cleveland established a one-mile square (258 ha) reservation at La Push.

In 1929, the U.S. Coast Guard Station Quillayute River was established at La Push. The station’s area of responsibility extends from Cape Alava to the Queets River and includes the treacherous inlet at the mouth of the Quillayute River. The jagged rocks and unpredictable surf zone make the inlet a challenge to navigate. The station’s boat crews are trained to conduct rescues in extreme conditions using two motor lifeboats capable of operating in 50-knot (93 kph) sustained winds, waves of 30 feet (9 m), and surf of 20 feet (6 m). Today, the community of La Push is known for its wild beaches at First Beach, Rialto, and Second Beach, and for its proximity to Olympic National Park. Read more here and here. Explore more of La Push here:

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