Three women prepare for 1,000-mile horseback ride to draw attention to Idaho's endangered wild salmon

Katelyn Spradley, left, and Kat Cannell are two members of a three-woman team that's riding horses this spring from Astoria, Ore., to Stanley, Idaho to bring more awareness to the plight of wild salmon. Photo courtesy Kat Cannell

Katelyn Spradley, left, and Kat Cannell are two members of a three-woman team that's riding horses this spring from Astoria, Ore., to Stanley, Idaho to bring more awareness to the plight of wild salmon. Photo courtesy Kat Cannell

Determined women, tough horses and wild salmon might not seem a likely combination, but they’re coming together this spring to help raise awareness about the plight of Idaho’s endangered ocean-going fish.

Three women from central Idaho are preparing to ride horses 1,000 miles from Astoria, Ore., at the mouth of the Columbia River on the Pacific coast, to Stanley, Idaho, roughly following the same path that salmon follow up the Columbia, Snake and Salmon rivers. Kat Cannell, Katelyn Spradley and M.J. Wright will leave Idaho April 16 and start their trip out of Astoria April 18. If all goes well, they’ll arrive in Stanley in early June.

They call the project Ride for Redd, making a play on the word for a salmon spawning nest, which is called a redd.

“We’re planning to ride right into Redfish Lake on June 2,” said Cannell, who grew up in Stanley on the banks of the Salmon River. “Our mission is to put the redd back in Redfish. Those beaches people play on at Redfish Lake in the summer—those used to be a real sacred, special place. Our mission is just to remind people of that.”

All three women are experienced long-distance horseback riders. They’re also capable and diverse athletes who fish, raft, mountain bike, mountaineer, kayak, climb and snowboard—to name just a few activities.

“This ride, estimated to take two months to complete, is to incite action for the immediate need to take action in protecting Stanley’s wild salmon,” according to a press release from the women. “These fish are essential to the ecosystem of Idaho, the Pacific Northwest, and the nation.”

IRU is sponsoring the ride, which promises to attract attention for wild salmon along the way. In the first week, for example, the three women are planning to ride right through downtown Portland, Ore.

The women are currently raising money for their ride, as well as for Idaho Rivers United. They’ll host a Wild Salmon Hoe Down in Hailey April 1. You can also support them at their Go Fund Me page, at their website or on their Facebook page.

Cannell said that Idaho’s huge winter snowpack could pose route-finding challenges for the women when they arrive in Idaho sometime in May, but they’ve laid out several contingency plans that will all roughly mirror the journey of Idaho's amazing salmon. 
 
Please join Idaho Rivers United in supporting this incredible team of determined women and tough horses who are preparing to embark on the trip of a lifetime—all to make a difference for Idaho’s incredible indelible wild salmon.