Fall 2012 News:
By Celia A Nord
*WAS THE YEAR OF THE CHINOOK: even though very few sockeye returned (only 150 returned to spawn in 2008; their eggs being the brood stock for the 2012 run) we have had a banner year of chinook (spring) salmon spawning in an area of the Adams River channel that runs all along the main trail about a 5 minute walk upriver of the main parking area, near the Roderick Haig-Brown memorial rock/plaque site, they are beginning to die off, having spawned and are becoming fewer and farther between (Oct 19).
*2012, which was the year following the sub-dominant year, has traditionally, in the historic era, been a smaller run (thousands, and recently even hundreds). See details in the Learn More section at the Adams River Escapements link (escapement is a DFO term…these numbers relate to the numbers of returning sockeye to the Adams River).
*The dominant sockeye run (Oct 2014), the sub-dominant run (2015) and this year’s run (2013) are all expected to be strong and within the expected parameters for their year within the cycle (2013: 10’s of thousands; 2014: millions; 2015: hundreds of thousands).
October 2012 News:
by Celia A Nord
As expected, October was a busy month in the log cabin Interpretive Centre in Roderick Haig-Brown Park. The free interpretive walks given three times daily throughout Thanksgiving Weekend were a big hit with locals, European and Asian visitors, Albertans and more. Each day of that weekend, the number of cars parked in the lot averaged at about 85 or 90 throughout the day. Interest in the free interpretive walks throughout the rest of the month was also high. Numbers of school groups joined me for walks and talks about the cultural and natural histories of the park with a special emphasis on the role of local ecosystems in the survival of salmon. Even though the numbers of sockeye that returned were so few that it was rare to see any in the river at any given time (our trails only allow us to see 20% of the river as it is), there was a large return of chinook visible about a 5 minute walk upriver from the main parking area. The low numbers of returning sockeye was not too unexpected since the number of returns of sockeye, four years ago, in 2008 was only about 150.
As most of you are aware, because of the sockeye 4 year cycle, within a 4 year span in the Adams River, there is a dominant year (in the millions, the last being in 2010), followed by a sub-dominant year (in the hundreds of thousands, as there were last year), then (this year) a post-subdominant year (usually in the thousands, though for the last few cycle it has been in the hundreds) and a pre-dominant year (in the 10’s of thousands), which will be next year. You can view a pdf of the numbers of returning sockeye to the Adams River on our website, on the Learn More page, by clicking on a hyperlink called Adams River Escapements (a DFO term to refer to the numbers of sockeye that returned to spawn). This will give you an idea of how the patterns have played out since 1938. You will notice that, after the US and Canada, built the fishways at Hell’s Gate in the 1940’s, the numbers increased back to those similar to what we see now.
It can often be disappointing for visitors to come expecting to see millions of sockeye return to spawn every year. We are doing our best to inform people of the variations in the runs, via email requests for information, data posted on our website, news releases and one on one contact in the park. Myself, and board members from the Salmon Society, attended a stakeholders meeting about proposed upgrades by BC Parks to the day-use area of Roderick Haig-Brown Park. We are looking forward to having a major role in the upcoming changes that will enhance the experience of the park in non-spawning seasons and non-dominant years.
I had direct contact with about 2,000 people throughout the summer and fall, in the cabin and on walks.
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 (email@example.com).
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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)