CRESCENT CITY, Calif. — Tsunami Lanes, a beloved tribal-owned bowling alley in tsunami-prone Del Norte County in Northern California, has closed its doors permanently as a result of the severe economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The difficult decision has been made to permanently close Tsunami Lanes Bowling. The pandemic has affected businesses big and small, and we were no exception,” said Elk Valley Rancheria Tribal Council Chairman Dale Miller. “The Tribe has been committed to supporting the business and team members for as long as possible during this difficult time, but unfortunately the time has come that we are unable to continue to do so.” 

At the beginning of the pandemic, Tsunami Lanes was hopeful for a reopening. In March, the tribe announced it would temporarily close the bowling alley for at least the rest of the month. 

2008bowloingVia the Tsunami Lanes Facebook page.

In a statement at the time of the temporary closure, Tsunami Lanes management said the bowling alley would follow recommendations from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s precautionary guidelines and would potentially allow visitors back after further evaluation of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Located on California’s scenic Pacific Coast Highway 101, Tsunami Lanes featured 16 bowling lanes, arcade games and a snack bar. Community members mourned the loss of the local fixture on social media. 

“I wish there was something our community could do to keep the lanes open!! Maybe we could brainstorm something?” Andria Algis posted on Facebook. “Tsunami Lanes is greatly loved by our community, I’m not ready to say goodbye.”

Elk Valley Rancheria has a long history of helping Crescent City, an area which was economically depressed by the loss of logging and fishing industries. In 2003, the tribe was the area’s largest employer, largely because of the tribe’s Elk Valley Casino. 

2008bowloingVia the Tsunami Lanes Facebook page.

Originally a Piggly Wiggly supermarket, the tribe put $2.2 million into building Tsunami Lanes, complete with glowing lanes, new balls and shoes, fake fog, laser strobes and black lights that pulse to a high-powered sound system. 

The Elk Valley Casino has also faced months of loss of business as a result of the pandemic. The casino has begun a phased reopening with reduced hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week.  

The casino bar will remain closed and temperatures will be taken. Masks are recommended, but not required.

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About The Author
Nanette Kelley
Author: Nanette Kelley
Nanette Kelley (Osage Nation/Cherokee Nation) is a contributing writer to Native News Online. She covers tribes throughout California. She can be reached at [email protected]