September News and Upcoming October 2012 Events:
by Celia A Nord
September was an even busier month for the Salmon Society than August. Many people begin to arrive in the park in the hopes of seeing sockeye salmon. Even though the sockeye did not begin to trickle in until about the 26 of September (and are still very sparse as of September 30th), visitors are enjoying the beautiful sunny fall weather, interpretive walks of cultural and natural history, and independent walks along the many trails (26 km of them!) in the park. I welcomed tour bus groups from Italy and Germany, large groups from Hong Kong, visitors from Japan, China, Britain, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Australia, Ontario, British Columbia and more. I can still be found in the Interpretive Centre (log cabin) in the main parking lot at Roderick Haig-Brown Park, across from Eva Road in Lee Creek, on Wednesdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm until Oct 17. Come by and ask me to take you on an interpretive walk or to watch the beautiful full-length Nature (PBS) salmon documentary, parts of it shot on the Adams River in the 1980’s. There are souvenir t-shirts, bumper stickers, art postcards, fridge magnets, re-usable hemp shopping bags, water bottles, posters and more with the Salmon Society logo on them, for sale in the cabin. All proceeds go to support the Salmon Society.
Although it was not obvious from the Scotch Creek Bridge, the early August run of sockeye up Scotch Creek saw more returns than predicted, estimated at about 1,800 sockeye. The majority of the spawners traveled at night up the river and through the fish weir that was manned 24 hours a day by Little Shuswap Lake Indian band members. The bats that were on view through the glass in the covered upper windows of the cabin have flown off to warmer places for the winter. I’m hoping that this 40+ bat colony will find their way back in the spring so we can enjoy another unique opportunity to view these small creatures that are so beneficial to us and the environment. I’ve had some very interesting conversations with fly fisherpersons on the Adams River this year and am collecting contact information to compile their invaluable stories and unique view of the river. Many of them have been fishing trout (catch and release) in these waters for decades. These fisherpersons have close up and personal contact with the first salmon as they arrive on the river and share their experiences readily. If I want to know if there are any salmon yet in the river (chinook, sockeye and coho, with pink arriving on odd years only), they are the ones to ask.
On September 30 we celebrated BC Rivers Day with our annual paddle to the Adams Rivermouth from McKay Bay at Lee Creek (across from the log dump). This unique view of the Adams River delta reminded me of the large areas of the river that we can’t see from the trails in our park. A large group of seagulls were visible on the point near Little River indicating that the salmon were drawing near. Seagulls will follow the salmon all the way from the ocean, often returning to the coast when the spawning season is finished. There is a great aerial photograph of the delta, on view in the interpretive centre, taken by an unmanned aerial vehicle during the 2010 dominant run that saw almost 4 million sockeye return to the Adams River (slightly more than the 2002 run) to spawn. Last year was a subdominant year with the DFO estimating 145,000 sockeye in the river. This year, as has been traditional in the historic period, the third year in the four-year cycle between dominant runs sees the lowest return of sockeye (possibly in the hundreds, or hopefully thousands). Next year will see an increase in the numbers of returning salmon (into the 10’s of thousands), with the next dominant run, in 2014 seeing the numbers increasing into the millions again. Before European contact, all years of the sockeye runs saw consistent returns in the millions, but dams and landslides and numerous other impacts have seen negative consequences to the sizes of the sockeye salmon runs in our region.
I will once again be giving free interpretive walks throughout the Thanksgiving weekend (cultural and natural history information), on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 10am, 12:30pm and 3pm, with a sign up sheet and a maximum of 30 people per group. Check out and LIKE our Adams River Salmon Society facebook page to receive natural and cultural history information posts in your news feed.
German hosteler, Philip Klages joined the Adams River Salmon Society members in a paddle to the Adams Rivermouth on BC Rivers Day, September 30, 2012
August News and Upcoming September 2012 Events:
by Celia Nord
August was an eventful month for the Adams River Salmon Society. Mid-month the Society was a co-sponsor of the outreach Routes & Blues program and had a booth at the Roots & Blues music festival in Salmon Arm. I lead two interpretive walks for the Routes & Blues at Albas and on the Adams River Gorge Trail. These walks were well attended and a lot of fun and were followed by local community dinners and great live music. The Shuffle Demons and the Salmon Armenians played at Seymour Arm after our Albas hike and Murray Porter and his Rez Blues Band played at the Quaaout Lodge after our Adams River Gorge Trail hike.
Earlier in the month I had an opportunity to travel very close to the headwaters of the Adams River when we did an overnight camping trip to Tumtum Lake and explored the Upper Adams River and the Oliver Creek valleys. You can read more about this adventure and how it relates to our wild salmon, in the next installment of the Firestarter newspaper (October 2012).
We added another open day (Sunday) at the Interpretive Cabin at the main parking area in Roderick Haig-Brown Park. We are now open on Wednesdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm through until October 17, 2012. Come in during those times and ask me about going on an interpretive walk (free). We will also have our annual interpretive walks every day of the Thanksgiving weekend at 10am, 12:30pm and 3pm. The Salmon Society programming will finish on October 19, 2012 and start up again next year on the Victoria Day Long Weekend. School and other youth or non-profit organization may make appointments to attend one of my interpretive walks in October on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays until October 19, 2012 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There were several sockeye spawning in a channel between the Cottonwood Trail and the Adams River near the end of August. These may have been diverted members of the group spawning at that time in Scotch Creek or part of the Upper Adams Run; the fisheries people are looking into it. There are two bears hanging about the rivermouth so please follow proper bear aware procedures (www.bearaware.bc.ca) when hiking in the park. Groups of 3 or more make enough noise to alert bears of our presence and don’t run when you see a bear (he may instinctively chase you) but rather stop, back up slowly and then calmly walk away. If a bear stands up, he is not being aggressive, but merely getting a better look, and to smell and hear better. Attacks and especially injuries from black bears are very rare. In fact, bears suffer much more from us being in their territory than we do from their presence.
A section of the Island Loop Trail in Roderick Haig-Brown Park has been blocked off due to dangerous bank erosion near the trail. These barricades have already been vandalized by visitors! Please respect the signs and stay on designated trails and enjoy your walk in our park. Roderick Haig-Brown Park has 26 km of trails! Staying on the trails protects the riparian environments that make these waterways perfect for the millions of salmon (pink, chinook, sockeye and coho) that come to the Adams River to spawn.
The 2012 sockeye salmon run is expected to be smaller than the previous year but will still afford opportunities in October to view salmon, as well as local flora and fauna and to learn about the cultural and natural histories of this unique ecosystem, which supports the largest sockeye salmon run in the Americas. All tours meet at the log cabin Interpretive Centre (Adams River Salmon Society) in the main parking area of the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park (2300 Squilax Anglemont Rd, North Shuswap, BC).
The Peak Year art exhibit, sponsored by the Adams River Salmon Society, has been touring and is now showing, until Sept 22, at the Kamloops Art Council Gallery, in the Old Courthouse at 1st Ave and Seymour St. in Kamloops. These are salmon-related images that were inspired by the 2010 sockeye run, and produced by regional artists. The sockeye are due to return to the Adams River in October.
June News and upcoming July 2012 events:
by Celia A Nord
June was an interesting and challenging month in the North Shuswap. The lake managed to come within 3 inches of topping the 1972 high water levels. The rivermouth parking and the main parking access to Roderick Haig-Brown Park were closed due to excessive flooding around mid-month. As a result, I was unable to man the Interpretive Centre on some Wednesday’s but did work from home and managed to arrange with a local family to meet me at the Lower Flume Trail for an Interpretive Walk on July 4th. Locals, with relatives visiting from France, joined me for an Interpretive Walk in Roderick Haig-Brown Park, on the Wednesday before the closures. In spite of the flooding, we managed to have a great walk and talk about local cultural and natural histories. The Upper Flume trail, at least to the first main loop trailhead (I have yet to check farther), is totally accessible with amazing examples of mushrooms and fern amidst other lush, water-loving plants growing along the Bear Creek falls. I managed to photograph a red squirrel, busy with some cottonwood fluff. The Lower Flume Trail was fine if you kept to the south-east side of Bear Creek and continued on past the new footbridge. I saw many ‘signs’ of animals everywhere I turned. You could cross the footbridge and get almost as far as Adams River, but at that point, the river was across the waterside trail. There is little flooding on the trail to the Adams River gorge and back.
We have a great lineup of events for the upcoming Summer Sockeye Celebration, in Roderick Haig-Brown Park on Sunday July 15. Society members are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting at 11am in the log cabin Interpretive Centre. The public is invited to join us at noon for an afternoon of food (there will be a local First Nations bannock booth and cake), music by local band Birchbark, storytelling and stick games by Little Shuswap Lake Band member Ralph McBryan and more. There will be guided Interpretive Walks in accessible areas. There will also be draws for ‘attendance’ prizes including tickets to the Roots and Blues festival, as well as donated salmon-related artworks. Despite the floods, Wednesday walks will continue. You can email me to arrange to meet at other North Shuswap trail locations if these main trails are still closed. Once the waters have subsided, come visit me in the log cabin Interpretive Centre in Roderick Haig-Brown Park on Wednesdays throughout the summer. We can go on a free interpretive walk together. You can join me for walks at 4pm on Wednesdays but I am also flexible for some other times throughout the day between 10am and 4pm, by chance or by contacting me ahead of time. email@example.com
May/June 2012 News and upcoming events:
by Celia Nord
The Adams River Salmon Society held their first annual Spring Interpretive Walk events on the May Long Weekend at Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park. Locals and visitors from diverse locations such as New Zealand, England, Germany, Lee Creek, Quebec, Ontario, Gabriola Island, Kamloops, Alberta, Taiwan, Quesnel, and Salmon Arm, joined me for hour-long walks to discuss cultural and local histories. We were fortunate, on each walk, to be able to view many salmon fry at one location and talk about the ‘presence’ of salmon year-round in the park. During one tour we spent time viewing a nearby Pileated Woodpecker, while during another we got to witness a female Black-backed Woodpecker casually moving up a tree above our heads. A large cedar with ancient cultural modification (indigenous bark-stripping) was another highlight of the journey. Throughout the walks we discussed cultural uses of plants and the inter-relatedness of many park species, especially in relation to salmon and early human occupations.
I will be manning the Log Cabin Interpretive Centre in Roderick Haig-Brown Park (soon to be officially ‘named’), each Wednesday over the summer from 10am to 4pm. Join me at 4pm Wednesdays throughout the summer for free hour-long interpretive walks in the park (trails rotating weekly), to discuss local cultural and natural histories. Fall hours will be increased after Labour Day and run until the end of Thanksgiving Weekend, with another full weekend of interpretive tours planned then, to wind up the season. By the time this is printed, I will have joined the North Shuswap School on their annual trip to the Kingfisher Interpretive Centre near Enderby, BC, to release the salmon fry they have hatched from eggs received in the fall, into the Shuswap River.
Last week I helped Ted Danyluk, Jim Cooperman and Louie Trenton with a morning of tree-planting to help restore human-impacted areas in the park, including the former farm across from the cement plant and the deactivated trail and viewing platform area. The Douglas-fir trees were donated by the Adams Lake Division of Interfor. Back in April, two local schools met with myself and Dr. Fish (retired teacher, Kim Fulton), who supplied a variety of indigenous species, for Earth Day tree-planting events to rehabilitate deactivated trail areas damaged from high-waters in 2011.
Plans are in the works for a future Trail Awareness and Rehabilitation Project, to be hosted by the Society that will incorporate interpretation and ‘hands-on’ experiences for locals and visitors alike.
Don’t forget to join us at noon for our Sockeye Summer Celebration on Sunday July 15 at Roderick Haig-Brown Park following the Annual General Meeting for members @ 11am. The celebration includes live music and other events; more details to follow.
Ted Danyluk, Louie Trenton and Celia Nord treeplanting in Roderick Haig-Brown Park
(photo by Jim Cooperman)
Adams River Salmon Society
April 27, 2012
Famous wild salmon activist tours the Shuswap
Famed wild salmon activist and marine biologist Dr. Alexandria Morton will be on a speaking tour of the Shuswap from May 9 to May 12, with engagements in Lumby, Enderby, Salmon Arm and in the North Shuswap. On Thursday, May 10th, Morton at 7:30 pm will speak at the Senior’s Activity Centre, 170 5th Ave. SE, Salmon Arm for a public event sponsored by Shuswap Environmental Action Society (SEAS), Salmon Arm KAIROS, and the Adams River Salmon Society.
Morton began her marine biology career studying captive killer whales at Marineland of the Pacific in Los Angeles and soon realized that in order to learn more about their complex language and behaviour she needed to study these whales in their natural habitat. After moving to the Broughton Archipelago in 1979 to study the orcas, she wrote numerous research papers on the topic. When fish farms began to expand into the area in the late 1980s, the local fishing community turned to her for help.
Her research then focused on the impact of these farms on wild salmon and soon her papers, published in leading journals such as Science, were warning how sea lice were spreading from the farmed Atlantic salmon to wild pink salmon. In 2001, she predicted the stock collapse that occurred the following year. After she went to the B.C. Supreme Court in 2009, the decision required the federal government to uphold their constitutional obligation for regulating the ocean fishery, which forced them to take over management of the fish farm industry from the province.
Last year Morton provided key testimony to the Cohen Commission, the federal inquiry into the decline of the Fraser River sockeye, and her efforts resulted in the province releasing detailed fish farm disease records. Her research has found that salmon anemia, a disease associated with farmed salmon, is present on the West Coast, despite denials by the government. Most recently, Morton has had tests done on farmed salmon purchased at lower mainland supermarkets that show evidence of a virus associated with heart and skeletal muscle inflammation, another disease that afflicts fish farms in Norway. Consequently, she has put forward a request to have the Cohen Commission inquiry reopened to examine the evidence about the virus, which could be one of the key factors responsible for recent salmon run declines.
“Our government has prioritized the fish feedlot industry and foreign trade over the welfare of wild pacific salmon,” said Dr. Morton. “This could well be the biggest, most ecologically and financially devastating cover-up in the history of our province, she added.
“Shuswap residents are fortunate to have this opportunity to hear Dr. Morton speak about the impacts that the fish feedlot industry is having on the wild salmon that are this region’s most iconic species,” explained Jim Cooperman, president of SEAS.
“We are pleased to help make the tour possible by providing the financial support needed to cover the travel expenses,” said Darlene McBain, president of the Adams River Salmon Society.
“Not only are fish farms likely impacting the health of B.C.’s salmon, they also are impacting those communities that depend on a viable wild salmon fishery, including First Nations,” said Anne Morris, of Salmon Arm KAIROS Committee. “We look forward to learning more about the issues one of Canada’s foremost experts and finding out how we can help,” added Morris.
In addition to the May 10th talk in Salmon Arm, Morton will be in Lumby on May 9th at the White Valley Community Centre at 7pm for an event sponsored by the North Okanagan/Shuswap NDP. On May 11th, she will be at the Enderby Seniors Hall at 7pm. And on May 12th, outdoor enthusiasts will meet at the Interpretive Cabin and then hike with Morton in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park from 10am until noon and then enjoy their picnic lunches until 1 pm.
For more information, contact:
Lumby, Priscilla Judd, 547-9475
Enderby, Jean Clark, 838-7299
Salmon Arm, Anne Morris, 833-5773
North Shuswap, Celia Nord, 371-2630
or visit Dr. Morton’s website:
Adams River Sockeye are to be the subject for an upcoming documentary and art installation by renowned documentary filmmaker, Nettie Wild.
Here is a recent note about her latest project:
Dear folks of the Adams’ River,
I am writing to thank you all for the extraordinary support you gave me during our shoot for Uninterrupted this fall at the Adams’ River. Each of you helped myself and my crew out in many ways, large and small and all important.
We screened our rushes in the beginning of December on the big screen at the NFB and for that day, our little crew was once again back on the river. It made us all want to immediately get out of the city, head north and chase light across the current.
On January 16, I head into the editing room to play with our images. We will cut a demo together with which to hopefully raise further funds so we can return to shoot during the next dominant year. We will also be running around Vancouver projecting the images on different exterior walls to see what they look like blown up a story high. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, may the current be gentle and the light sparkle for all you in 2012.
Canada Wild Productions
Here are some photos of Nettie and her crew busy filming during last October’s salmon run:
Salmon Society Educational Program a Success!
Last fall, the Adams River Salmon Society contracted Celia Nord to manage an interpretive program for October during the salmon run and apply for funding to support an educational program for this year. Celia is an archaeologist, as well as museum archivist and curator. Plus, she is very knowledgeable about local flora and fauna. We were very pleased with the results! Celia worked with numerous school groups and naturalist clubs during October. Also, during the Thanksgiving weekend she provided interpretive services for 244 people. As well, she set up some exhibits in the Society’s Interpretive cabin, which was visited by 766 people over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Here is a photo of Celia in action: