“The Grand Salmon: A Source to Sea Journey” trip announcement:
3 women, 3 rivers, 3 endangered species of salmon, 1000+ river miles, 4 dams, 1 Stibnite mine, 1 film
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 18th, 2022
At the end of April of 2022, three women will ski and paddle over 1,000 miles from Central Idaho to the Pacific Ocean on a quest to connect, educate, and engage communities in a call to action around Idaho’s threatened and endangered Snake River Basin Salmon populations. Through conversations, events, storytelling and a film, the team’s mission is to highlight and promote opportunities to restore and protect these remarkable species. Specifically, the team’s efforts will support breaching of the four Lower Snake River dams to restore salmon populations, and a moratorium on the proposed Stibnite Gold Project, an open pit mining proposal in the Salmon River headwaters.
“I think we’re in an incredible window of opportunity right now. We have a chance to use adventure as a tool for supporting conservation efforts that already have amazing energy behind them! If we can use an epic trip like this one to help influence decision makers, support policy outcomes and protect these incredible keystone species, that’s a pretty huge dream come true…!” says Libby Tobey, one of the core paddlers.
The three paddlers, Brooke Hess, Libby Tobey and Alia Payne will begin their journey by ski touring into remote wilderness in central Idaho to reach the headwaters of the South, Middle, and Main Salmon River. They will continue downstream in whitewater kayaks and rafts following the natural migration path of anadromous fish from the rivers of central Idaho to the Pacific Ocean. Transitioning to sea kayaks they will paddle and portage the four dams on the Lower Snake River and a further four on the Columbia before reaching their ocean destination near Astoria, Oregon.
Anticipating the trip to take around 80 days, team paddler and professional whitewater kayaker, Brooke Hess reflects, “This is going to be the longest paddling trip I have attempted, and I am preparing myself for a full-on sufferfest once we reach the flatwater of the Columbia River, but it’s nothing to what the salmon have to face and hopefully we can gain enough momentum with our media and outreach that we can get those dams taken out, and it will all be worth it.”
The team is supported by two non-profit organizations, Idaho Rivers United, a river based environmental organization who is acting as fiscal sponsor and advocacy partner for the campaign, and Rivers for Change, an organization cultivating source to sea adventures as a catalyst for conservation and education. Additional partners include numerous sponsors in the paddling industry and non-profit organizations.
The campaign will include grassroots action through community events such as group paddling days, tribal visits, river clean ups, citizen science and more. Additionally several educational events with school groups, partnered non-profit organizations, and expert speaker visits will take place. If you are interested in getting involved, please visit www.salmonsourcetosea.com for ways to spread the word, volunteer, sponsor, donate, partner, and take action!
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