Cultural resources can be defined as physical evidence or place of past human activity. Sites, objects, landscapes, structures can all be cultural resources. A cultural resource can also be a site, structure, landscape, object or natural feature of significance to a group of people traditionally associated with it.
These resources provide the community with a tangible connection to its history and heritage. Federal, state, county, and City of Redmond regulations protect cultural resources and provide direction for their management.
- Archaeological Resources
- Historic Structures
- Cultural Landscapes
- Traditional Cultural Places
- Significance of the Bear Creek Site
Archaeological resources provide tangible evidence of past human cultures. In the United States, archaeological sites are typically characterized as pre-contact (before the arrival of Europeans) or historic (after the arrival of Europeans).
There are many types of archaeological resources but the most common are artifacts and features.
- Projectile points
- Shards of glass
- Trash pits
Historic structures are typically over 50 years old (by national standards and 40 years by King County standards) and either in use or capable of being repaired for use. Examples of historic structures are found throughout Redmond. The more common types of historic structures include houses, barns, bridges, and roads.
These resources may be important even if they do not appear architecturally distinguished or well cared for.
Cultural landscapes are settings humans have created in the natural world. They reflect the ties between people and the land. Examples include cattle ranches, formal gardens, pilgrimage routes, and village squares. Cultural landscapes have elements of the landscape integrated with built features and structures.
For example, important features on a cattle ranch would include the pastures, hedgerows, and the fence posts as well as barns or residential structures.
A cultural resource, often a place, significant for its associations with various aspects of a living community, including:
- Cultural practices
- Social institutions
Examples can include a hillside used for berry gathering or a village square where traditional artistic and economic activities have been continuously carried out for generations.
Some resources may fall into several of these categories. For example, Snoqualmie Falls is considered a traditional cultural place to the Snoqualmie Tribe but also has historic structures related to its use for hydroelectric power generation by Seattle City Light. There are both historic and precontact archaeological sites located in the vicinity of the falls.
Bear Creek History
Rehabilitation of lower Bear Creek was identified in the Bear Creek Basin Plan, jointly completed by the City and King County in 1990. Funding was not available at that time and this work has been pursued as funding opportunities occurred.
Approximately 1996 through 1999, the City worked together with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) when that agency agreed to provide funding to enhance a portion of Bear Creek, north of Marymoor Park. This previous project has been successfully completed and is to be a model in many ways for the remaining work to be addressed by the final two phases of the Bear Creek Rehabilitation project.
Around 1996, the City began to work with the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to undertake rehabilitation of the remaining lower Bear Creek. Unfortunately, the Corps’ rehabilitation program (designated 1135) stresses minimum stream improvements, requires an agency agreement which presented legal issues, and presented very strict and difficult real property issues. While the Corps would provide 75 percent of the funding for eligible costs, the overall quality of the Corps design and accompanying legal and property issues led to mutual agreement to terminate this joint project effort.
September 2008, the City of Redmond and WSDOT entered into an agreement to fully fund the design and construction of Bear Creek Rehabilitation in coordination with the “Stage 3” widening of the State Road-520 freeway adjacent to the creek.
In early summer 2015, the City of Redmond completed the Bear Creek Rehabilitation project.
Learn more through the interpretive graphics (PDF) of the history of Bear Creek, installed along the Bear Creek Trail.
Archaeology for the Curious - Learning the Archaeology and Ethnography of the Bear Creek Site
On May 18th, 2013, experts from the Washington State Department of Transportation, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Muckleshoot, Snoqualmie and Stillaguamish Tribes, and SWCA Environmental Consultants presented a special workshop titled Archaeology for the Curious about archaeology basics and what Redmond was like 10,000 years ago and the local history of the Bear Creek site.
The following links will direct you to videos of Archaeology for the Curious presentation:
- Archaeology for the Curious - Stories of traditional life & resources (Warren King George, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe)
- Archaeology for the Curious - Paleoindian period in Redmond & Western Washington 10,000 years ago (Ken Ames, Professor Emeritus Portland State University)
- Archaeology for the Curious - Citizen Involvement in Cultural Resources & Historic Preservation (Matthew Sterner, Washington Department of Archaeology and Historical Preservation)
- Archaeology for the Curious -Archaeology of the Bear Creek Site (Bob Kopperl with NWAA/SWCA)
- Archaeology for the Curious -Roundtable discussion with Agency (Tribal and Consultant Cultural Resources Staff)
- Archaeology for the Curious -Archaeology 101 in 45 minutes or less (Steve Archer and Scott Williams with WSDOT)
- Redmond During the Ice Age: Bear Creek Excavation Seminar (Bob Kopperl with SWCA/Willamette CRA)
- 2018 Archaeology Day and Fair - Keynote (Jenny Dellert, Archaeologist, Environmental Science Associates)
Activities That Can Harm Cultural Resources
Cultural resources can be damaged in many ways. Demolition of a building or destruction of buried archaeological materials through digging or trenching are common ways resources are affected by human activities. However, there are many intangible elements in addition to the physical features that are important to consider.
For example, dust from the use of equipment during construction or the frequent noise of vehicles could impact the use of a traditional cultural place by an Indian tribe.