Taholah, Quinault River

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Taholah, Quinault River

by | Oct 22, 2019

Taholah is a community located at the mouth of the Quinault River on lands of the Quinault Nation, about 9 miles (14 km) north of Moclips and 41 miles (66 km) north of Hoquiam on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. The Quinault are a southwestern coastal Salish people indigenous to the Pacific Northwest Coast. The Quinault Reservation was founded in 1855 with the signing of the Treaty of Olympia with the United States. The reservation covers 208,150 acres (84,240 ha) and includes 23 miles (37 km) of the Pacific coastline. It is bordered by the Olympic National Park to the northwest and includes the Quinault, Queets, and Raft Rivers.

The Quinault River is 69 miles (111 km) long, originating deep in the Olympic Mountains and flowing southwest through the “Enchanted Valley” and then joined by the North Fork Quinault River. The main stem Quinault River above this confluence is sometimes called the East Fork Quinault River. Below the confluence, the river marks the boundary of Olympic National Park for several miles before entering Lake Quinault. Below the lake, the Quinault River flows southwest, entering the Pacific at Taholah. The Quinault River has been reaching record low flows since 2011 when the last remnant of the Anderson Glacier melted.

The Quinault Nation has always depended on the Quinault River and the Pacific Ocean for subsistence foods. Both have played integral roles in their identity and survival. However, parts of Taholah are now in the flood plain of the river and the community is constantly threatened by storm surges caused by higher waves from increasingly intensive Pacific storms. The community is in the early stages of planning a relocation effort. Read more here and here. Explore more of Taholah here:

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