State Parks bet on Tillicum Village

A new tenant for the iconic Native American styled “village” on Blake Island has signed a multi-year lease to renovate and expand the existing vacated buildings near the state park’s marina. 

Big Fin Casinos Inc., a Klallam tribal consortium based in Tacoma is planning on keeping the nearly 60-year-old iconic name “Tillicum Village” for it’s new resort project. The onset of COVID-19 marked the end of Argosy Cruises long run of island excursions which officially ended with an announcement on December 13th 2021 with the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission.

Billy Trimble, Project Manager for BFC, recently responded to the News Tribune “We have an agreement with the State to keep our Tillicum venue harmonious with the State Parks natural setting. This property is exclusively designed to accommodate clientele that values recreational gambling in a non-smoking and slots free environment. This is exclusively a card and dice establishment. No one needs to be concerned about multi-level flashy signage or loud Leonard Skynyrd tribute bands …. think more Blue Oyster Cult-ish acoustic type concerts.” He went on to say he was “absolutely elated of the amount of progress being made to meet our June 3rd grand opening. Nearly all 8 units reserved for our Whale level clientele are in final stages of construction and the dock renovations are well underway.”

Transportation to and from Tillicum Casino will initially be operated by TUG (Tribal Union Gill-netter Association) located at Port of Tacoma’s pier on Dock Street. Future plans include whale watching excursions to and from Blake Island when Orca are in the vicinity.

Before you plan to drum up the courage to bet the entire tent or boat on a solid blackjack hand, know that this small scale Tillicum resort is exclusively reserved for Big Fin patrons. Will the powers-to-be eventually open the village up to the general boating and camping public? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Scupper reporting for BDB