Saturday, April 12, 2008

You Know It's Spring When Giant Salmon Park Outside Your House

At least that's what I've heard.
Today was our first absolutely perfect spring day. I took care of most of the yard work yesterday--mowed the lawns (saving the dandelions),did some dead-heading (but not like I did in the early 90's), gathered leaves from the flower beds and used them in the compost pile, roped up the sagging butterfly bush of phenomenal proportion, and generally made stuff look nice. So today, when the sun really got going, it was a perfect day for playing outside.
The kids and I were out at around 11 this morning. One of our neighbors strolled by with her two boys. We started talking about the giant fish parked one house over from ours. Three people came walking by, wearing big smiles. They said hello, and asked how we were doing, and were generally happy-seeming, cool, walking-by folk. And they headed straight for the fish.

Well, a giant fish parked in front of the house is one thing. But seeing the people who are with the fish walk up and begin interacting with the fish is a different story. We all walked over. Drawn to the fish.
The fish is named FIN. He's a salmon.

I didn't catch the names of the people traveling with FIN (I'm Kevin, btw). But this is the three of them. I didn't have a lot of time for talking. You see, not only is the giant salmon a giant salmon, but it's a giant salmon that you can get inside. As soon as we found that out, things were a little crazy.

I did manage to find out the important stuff. Like why these three are driving around with a giant salmon behind them.

(click the pic to go to their site!)
These three travelers towing FIN are part of (or perhaps all of, I've not gotten all the nitty gritty) a team called, Save Our Wild Salmon Road Show 2008. They're raising awareness about these four dams along the Snake River that are really messing things up for the salmon. The four lower dams of the Snake are not only wiping out the salmon populations upstream from them, but could pose a threat to the environment in general. I'm so glad FIN parked where he did today.
Having a giant fish that your kids can climb into show up in front of your house is cool, and interesting. Finding out that the giant fish is driving to Washington D.C. to talk to people about these four dams that are destroying salmon populations is even more cool and interesting. Then discovering that these four dams are on a river that has been a part of your life since young childhood is the coolest and most interesting thing about a giant salmon parked outside that there could be.
I quite literally grew up beside the Snake River.
I've jumped into that river from railroad trestles and cliff tops, I've rafted it, swam in it, water-skiied on it, picnicked alongside it, fly-fished in it, tubed it, and camped beside it just about everwhere there is to camp beside it in Idaho. I grew up on the Snake. It's an awesome river, running through Wyoming and Idaho, forming much of the border between Oregon and Idaho, and emptying into the Columbia in Washington.

It is the lifeblood of the small desert town where I grew up. Without it, there would be no town there.
It is the lifeblood of many creatures. Certainly for countless salmon. It is their road to their spawning grounds. It's such a difficult road it's proving impossible.
This is an issue I'm familiar with. It's something that needs to be talked about, and considered, and dealt with. We can't stand by and let a species die for no reason other than ignorance, especially because we don't have ignorance to hide behind. Something can be done.
I read on the Road Show's blog today that four sockeye salmon made it to their spawning ground in Redfish Lake, Idaho.
Why do you think the lake is named Redfish?
I knew the caretaker one year at Redfish. I saw the lake like many people don't get to see it. I didn't see it in writhing red waves, I'm sure the lake was named long before people started damming spawning runs, though maybe when my dad was a kid, the salmon were thick enough to fill the water. But I've seen it when it's still. When there are no humans shouting about its shores, or yelling across its skin.
It is still pristine on the surface. Obviously, it is horribly awry beneath its reflection of the sky.
I can't believe so few fish made it home to a lake named for them. It's more than disgusting.
Show your support for the salmon. Check out their sites and see what you can do.
If you see FIN driving by, give them a wave. If you see them stopped somewhere, be sure and talk to them. Sign their petition. I'm glad I did. I'm sure my neighbors are, too. Nothing draws a crowd like a giant fish in the neighborhood.

Thanks for raising my awareness, Save Our Wild Salmon People. Thank you for doing this for the fish. And thanks for putting up with my crying child, who really, really misses the fish.

Happy Good Journey!

Save the Salmon.


Anonymous M.,Sherlock said...

Why dont we get giant salmon in london!...probably our lack of salmon in general

10:54 AM  
Blogger Shameless said...

DAM! We've got to get some giant Salmon to London-- Quick!

7:49 AM  

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