New Wiyot interpretive signs at Baduwa’t Estuary welcome visitors

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A project nine years in the making has finally come to fruition highlighting the connections to the Wiyot tribe.

The signs are a collaboration with California Trout, Redwood Community Action Agency, and the Wiyot tribe.

They are part of the Baduwa’t estuary’s restoration project, revitalizing the bluff near the Mad River with an ADA-compliant trail loop.

Karuk and Wiyot artist Alme Allen designed the sign.

“We came to this point where we, you know, wanted to tell a story in a certain way. First of all, given the signs’ native influence, it was really important to everyone involved in the project,” Allen said. Just bringing and representing that old cultural value. And what that really is our connection to the environment.”

The signs will welcome visitors to the Lhiwetgut site. That is the Wiyot word “for the land rises up from the ground”

“I kind of took the name itself in designing these monument structures to hold up the signs, so they themselves rise up from the ground and bring this message. For me, art is just telling stories,” Allen said.

Allen’s art is a reflection of his Karuk and Wiyot heritage.

“It was Alme’s vision and his relationship to this place that really brought the messages in the final three signs. By working with the tribe and alme, those messages really reflect this place and this time,” CalTrout regional manager Mary Burke said.

Nick Kisselhorst of Ironside Metal turns Allen’s vision into reality.

“[I’m] just a privileged white guy who can fabricate, but if I can help bring these kinds of projects and get that interaction from the community, I want to support in any way I can,” Kisselhorst said.

“You understand that history has put us in the past tense. If you know this area and you know the local people here and the local tribe, you know we are very much a part of this community. When we do work like this, this puts us in the present,” Allen said.