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Public Meetings Will Discuss Access To Southeast Washington’s Rattlesnake Mountain

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File photo of Rattlesnake Mountain as seen from the Horn Rapids area near Richland, Washington.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will hold public meetings the week October 12 in Richland, Washington, about opening Rattlesnake Mountain to the public.

The mountain is part of the Hanford Reach National Monument. For many northwest Native American tribes, the 3,500-foot mountain is sacred and they want to stay closed to the general public.

Rattlesnake Mountain has great significance to the Wanapum, Yakama, Umatilla and Nez Perce tribes and nations. They call the mountain Laliik. It’s protected by the federal government as a Traditional Cultural Property.

Rattlesnake even has rare plants and is a unique combination eco-system of high elevation and Northwest shrub-steppe.

Rattlesnake would reopen under legislation written into last year’s defense authorization bill. Federal rules would bar dune buggies, off-road biking or activity that would harm wildlife.

A tribal working group on access to the mountain has been established.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.