Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sawtooth Salmon Festival spawns fun and education

Annual event takes place in and around Stanley

Express Staff Writer

The annual Sawtooth Salmon Festival is not simply all about fun; it’s a chance for people of all ages to learn about Idaho’s salmon and the rivers where they live.
Express file photo

    The Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical Association is inviting people to come enjoy one of Stanley’s most popular summer weekends, the annual Sawtooth Salmon Festival. The festival will take place Friday, Aug. 22, and Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Stanley Interpretive and Historical Association museum grounds.
    It will open with the Forum Lecture Series, “Wilderness and Salmon: The Habitat and the Fish” by Salmon advocate Bert Bowler on Friday, Aug. 22, at 5 p.m.
    This year’s festival also includes a screening of the popular and informative documentary “DamNation” at the Redfish Center on Friday, Aug. 22, at 8 p.m. The film will also be shown at the Stanley Community Center on Saturday, Aug. 23, at 8 p.m. To offset the cost of acquiring the film, the suggested donation is $5 at each screening.
    Festivities will continue on Saturday, Aug. 23, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will include “salmon porn” educational tours to witness the miracle of wild salmon spawning in the streams of their birth as well as vendor booths, live music and other activities.
    In addition, the Gerheim Gallery will present the fourth annual Stanley Arts Festival, which will take place on the Stanley town green Friday, Aug. 22, through Sunday, Aug. 24.
    The Forum Lecture Series welcomes Bert Bowler, a fisheries biologist who has worked in the Columbia Basin for 40 years. His career started in 1964 as a summer employee of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. His first job was operating a summer chinook salmon trap and holding facility in Stolle Meadows, near Warm Lake, in the upper South Fork of the Salmon River drainage. His second job was walking the tributaries of Bear Valley Creek and the upper Salmon counting spring chinook salmon nests, called redds.

The festival will take place Friday, Aug. 22, and Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Stanley Interpretive and Historical
Association museum grounds.

    Bowler grew up in Idaho fishing for salmon and steelhead with his dad. He was amazed at how many of the gargantuan salmon were spawning in the upper tributaries of the Salmon Basin. During his last 10 years with Fish and Game, he worked in the position of Columbia River policy coordinator, organizing activities among states, tribes and federal entities that worked on salmon in the Northwest and specifically Idaho.
    During his 29-year career with the department, Bowler worked with different Idaho governors—some were advocates for the fish and wildlife resources of the state, while some were indifferent and others worked against those resources.
    The festival is hosted by the nonprofit Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical Association in partnership with the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. All programs are free of charge, but donations are accepted. For more information on the association, programs and membership, visit

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