There is a Rancheria adjacent to Big Lagoon, composed of a small group of Yurok and Tolowa tribe members, that has seriously considered building a casino on its shores for some time.
I remember a few years ago a friend and I canoed to that part of the shore and saw the foundation for a large buidling, that had been abandoned, and that had been grown over with blackberry and jubata grass. Well, the foundation was for the casino. According to my dad, the foundation has been around since at least 1996. But nothing has happened so far, and this video explains why.
But the latest word is that the US Department of the Interior is NOT going to let them build in Barstow.
Concerns about impacts on water quality, endangered species and scenery from a
casino on serene Big Lagoon had state environmental agencies and conservation
groups supporting the Barstow compact. With that upended, and the tribe pushing
harder for a casino on their reservation, a battle is likely over who approves
the project. The California Coastal Commission has vowed to sue, claiming that
states which adopt federally approved coastal programs have the right to review
federal projects, like an Indian casino.
(Full story from the Eureka Times Standard.)
A casino and its tourists would be a serious ecological, aesthetic, and personal tragedy. I worry about the Rancheria, but this is not (morally and culturally) the right answer to their problems. I feel it in my bones. While the lagoon is not in immediate danger, I must keep up with story and prepare my war cry.