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This site is the last remaining vestige of the natural prairie that spanned the qatáy (kah-tai) Valley, between wetland areas. Relatively dry, upland areas of the valley provided camas bulbs (qwɬúʔi in Klallam and Camassia quamash in Latin) for S’Klallam people to eat. The 1.4-acre camas prairie was officially preserved by the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society in 1987.


Camas harvesting was done by women, who broke ground with digging sticks (generally made of fire-hardened Ironwood, or Ocean Spray). They had to be well aware of the difference between blue and white (death) camas, in order to harvest only the edible variety. They turned over a section of ground, pulled out the largest camas bulbs, and returned the earth to its original spot to continue growing.


The bulb of blue camas, a main carbohydrate of the S’Klallam diet, was roasted and ground into a starch that could be stored for winter. Radiocarbon dates from camas ovens at Ebey’s Prairie, on Whidbey Island directly across Admiralty Inlet from Port Townsend, suggests these traditional cooking methods are at least 2,000 years old.



Periodic controlled burns of prairies were a regular practice of the S’Klallam, who recognized that burning the woody debris of prairie plants encouraged new growth from safely buried roots and exposed foraging animals for hunting.
The photo above records the last permitted burn of the prairie in 2008, conducted by the East Jefferson Fire Department. At right s a bloom that followed in 2010.
Photos courtesy of the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society.


A camas flower.

A camas bulb.
In 2018, the Native Plant Society invited members of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to harvest camas bulbs from the Port Townsend prairie in order to repopulate them on Tribal lands.




čičməhán Trail Map...



Chetzemoka Park Four Points Fowler Building Hudson Beach/Big Heart Laurel Grove Cemetery Memorial Field North Beach Northwest Maritime Center Port Townsend Ferry Overlook Point Hudson Port Townsend Post Office Point Wilson qatay Lagoon qatay Prairie qatay Valley entinel Rock Swan School Union Wharf/Indian Island


Click the markers on the map above to visit the
trail site pages.


Trail Sign Locations:


  1. Chetzemoka Park
    900 Jackson St. (main entrance)
  2. Hudson Beach/Big Heart
    103 Hudson St.
  3. Point Hudson
    103 Hudson St.
  4. Northwest Maritime Center
    Water St. & Monroe St.
  5. Village at Memorial Field
    Washington St.
  6. Fowler Building
    226 Adams St.
  7. Union Wharf/Indian Island
    Wharf on end of Taylor St.
  8. Port Townsend Ferry Overlook
    1200 Block of Washington St.
  9. Port Townsend Post Office
    1322 Washington St.
  10. qatáy Lagoon

  11. Laurel Grove Cemetery
    24th St. & Discovery Rd.
  12. Swan School / Klallam language
    2345 Kuhn St.
  13. Sentinel Rock
    1948 Blaine St. (Golf Course)
  14. qatáy Prairie
    1948 Blaine St.
  15. Four Points
    Blaine St. & and VanBuren St.
  16. qatáy Valley
    Pacific Ave.& Milo St.
  17. North Beach
    End of Kuhn St.
  18. Point Wilson
    Fort Worden







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