OUTFLOW – Conservation groups calling for removal of four lower Snake River Dams are organizing the third annual Free the Snake Flotilla on Friday and Saturday based out of Chief Timothy State Park at Clarkston, Washington.
Sam Mace of Save our Wild Salmon said she expects hundreds of people including tribal members, anglers, business owners, conservationists, outfitters and recreational boaters to join a six-mile roundtrip paddle on the river.
The rally, organized by a coalition of groups listed at FreeTheSnake.com, will open on Friday at 6 p.m. at the park with tribal drummers, guest speakers, live music and camping. The flotilla is set for Saturday starting at 10 a.m.
“Snake River wild salmon and steelhead returns have plummeted since the lower Snake River dams were built between 1960-75,” Mace says in a media release. “With climate change, the impacts of the dams and hot reservoirs are growing worse.”
Removing the four lower Snake River Dams would allow the river to flow free for 140 miles to the Columbia to help assure more natural migrations and long-term survival of steelhead and salmon, she said.
Proponents of maintaining the lower Snake River Dams held a Snake River Family Festival in May to emphasize that the dams provide hydropower and barging routes essential to the region.
Dam opponents say the hydropower provided by the dams can be replaced by conservation and other sources.
Meanwhile, the Columbia Riverkeeper this summer released a report on computer modeling indicating that Lower Snake River dams caused dangerously warm water in 2015 contributing to lethal problems with the salmon migration.
Tekoa fundraiser supports rail trail connection
OUTBOUND – The Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association is devoting proceeds from its annual fundraiser this year toward restoration of the John Wayne Trail and its connection to the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.
The Gala set for Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Tekoa Mansion, 141 S. Howard in Tekoa, will include music, beer and wine, appetizers, door prizes, gaming tables and a silent auction.
The John Wayne Pioneer Trail, the largely undeveloped Eastern Washington portion of a rail trail that crosses most of Washington, will become the longest rail-to-trail conversion in America when the connection is made to the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes in Idaho, Blaszak said.
Seven Idaho farm families are making way for a rail-trail connection from the Idaho line to Plummer with a ribbon cutting ceremony set for November, he said. The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is a paved rail trail from Plummer to Mullan. Unpaved rail trail runs from there over Lookout Pass into Montana.
“You can now get on your bike or horse or into your sneakers and travel all the way from Seattle to St. Regis, Montana, on this magnificent ribbon of historic beauty (with some interruptions),” Blaszak said.