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National group recognizes Chelan PUD's cultural resource protection

by Kimberlee Craig | Feb 20, 2020

Chelan County PUD has a longstanding history of working to preserve our region’s rich cultural history as it operates and maintains a customer-owned electric system. The utility’s efforts are now being recognized

Chelan PUD recently received the 2019 American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) Industry Award for its outstanding commitment to protecting cultural resources. The award honors industry members that consistently demonstrate exemplary coordination with Native American tribes and a strong commitment to supporting scientific research, public outreach and education.

In its announcement, ACRA cited the PUD’s consultation with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation for the protection of the Peshastin Pinnacles as a strong basis for the award.

Transmission lines have crossed through the Pinnacles since 1930, when they were operated by a Seattle-based private utility.

When a new federal rule required these lines to be upgraded, Chelan PUD consulted with local tribes to ensure that the work would not impact these sacred rock formations. As result of these conversations, the PUD decided to reroute the lines completely away from the Pinnacles.

General Manager Steve Wright and Jennifer Burns, environmental/cultural program manager, accepted the award.

“We’re very honored to be recognized with this award,” Burns noted. “Building strong relationships with all types of local stakeholders has always been critical to our organization.”

ACRA cited several other examples of the PUD’s leadership in public outreach for cultural resources for the award, including:

  • Publication and distribution of the booklet Deep Waters: A History of the First People and Places of Lake Chelan.
  • Operation of the Museum of the Columbia, which has housed narratives and artifacts of Native American Tribes and settlers (many of which will move to the PUD’s new Discovery Center in 2021).
  • The sponsorship of River Ramble, an annual celebration of Native American culture, technology and arts.
  • The respectful treatment of human remains and collaboration with tribes and the State Physical Anthropologist.
  • The development of a Traditional Cultural Property Management Plan for Lake Chelan, the first of its kind.

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Learn more about Chelan PUD at www.chelanpud.org, find us on Facebook.com/ChelanPUD and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD. 

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