2011 Sawtooth Salmon Festival a wild success

Author Steven Hawley reads from his book, "Recovering a Lost River," at the 2011 Sawtooth Salmon Fesitival in Stanley, Idaho. (Photo by Greg Stahl)

The 2011 Sawtooth Salmon Festival featured the same old festivities, food, music and educational opportunities with a new location and partnership, and hundreds gathered to welcome the salmon back to the Sawtooth Valley on Aug. 20.

Idaho Rivers United partnered with the Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association to throw this year’s Salmon Festival, an event held at the Stanley Hisotircal Museum grounds on Highway 75 near the confluence of Valley Creek with the Salmon River.

“This was a wonderful continuation of our tradition of salmon tours, great music and delicious food,” said IRU Assistant Policy Director Greg Stahl. “And it was an equally wonderful continuation of our tradition of celebrating the return of salmon to the Sawtooth Valley, the longest and highest migration for salmon on the planet.”

The 2011 Sawtooth Salmon Festival was also well timed. On Aug. 2, federal District Court Judge James Redden ruled the federal government’s salmon recovery blueprint illegal, and that creates an opportunity to restore salmon while invigorating Idaho’s economy and bolstering a historic and cultural staple.

Specifically, Redden declared that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service failed yet again to produce a legal and scientifically sound plan to protect endangered Columbia and Snake river salmon from the lethal impacts of federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. It was the fourth NOAA salmon plan overturned in 20 years and opens the door to setting up collaborative talks that will achieve lasting protections for Idaho’s endangered salmon and steelhead.

“This year’s Salmon Festival provided an excellent opportunity to view some of the wild salmon that do still return to central Idaho as they worked to spawn in their natal streams,” Stahl said. “It is incredibly rewarding to get folks out on the river, where they can see the miracle of wild salmon unfold. It is always a moving experience.”

The Sawtooth Salmon Festival doesn’t happen without support from key sponsors, and this year was no exception. Special thanks to our key sponsors, including Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical AssociationClackacraft Drift BoatsSawtooth Mountain Mamas,Ocean Beauty SeafoodsPatagonia, author Steven Hawley and Bethany Walter graphic design.