Snoqualmie Tribe buys Salish Lodge, land for $125 million

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. -- The Snoqualmie Tribe has purchased the Salish Lodge & Spa and the acreage surrounding Snoqualmie Falls, marking a major victory in the tribe's pursuit to reclaim land it considers sacred.

The Seattle Times reports the Snoqualmie Tribe purchased the Northwest landmark and land from the Muckleshoot Tribe for $125 million, according to a news release. The total area is about 45 acres (18 hectares), including land north of and across Highway 202.

The purchase does not include Snoqualmie Falls itself, but the tribe said it plans to discuss ownership of the underlying aquatic lands with the state. Puget Sound Energy holds the license to two hydroelectric generating plants at the falls.

The Muckleshoots bought the Salish Lodge & Spa, having outbid groups including the Snoqualmie Tribe, in 2007.

Development that had been approved by the city of Snoqualmie has been halted. The Muckleshoot Tribe wanted to build a hotel and conference center, as well as more than 100 homes, on land near Snoqualmie Falls.

The Snoqualmie Tribe has spent years fighting against development near Snoqualmie Falls. Tribal members believe that the mists of the Falls carry prayers to their ancestors, who used the site as a gathering place.