With the conclusion of the 2019 White Salmon River Festival, the organizing committee is happy to share that over 350 people attended seven events throughout the two-day festival.
The festivities kicked off at noon on Friday, June 28, 2019, with the annual Community Raft Float hosted by Wet Planet Whitewater.
Over 70 local area residents got to experience the Lower and Lower Lower sections of the White Salmon River from Husum, WA down to the Columbia River. This trip is an awe-inspiring journey, meandering through the area of Northwestern Lake Park, aptly named for the lake that once filled the area before the breaching of Condit Dam in October 2011.
The outcome of the dam removal has been an ever-changing river corridor that sprung back to life in the last 8 years. With beautiful scenery, fun whitewater, wildlife, and rich ecological history, the Lower Lower White Salmon River is a must-see recommendation by PNW paddlers. Folks were stoked!
Following the Community Raft Float, was an afternoon of community camaraderie. Wet Planet, Friends of the White Salmon River, the U.S. Forest Service, SHARE the White Salmon River and the Yakama Nation Fisheries worked together to host a BBQ with activities for kids.
A highlight of the activities was the stream table: a unique table with four walls containing sand, trees, bushes, and other props. Water is poured into the top of the pitched table to simulate the forming of a river channel and show kids the ever-changing nature of rivers and river valleys. Smokey the Bear made an appearance and the community mingled over brats, burgers, and lemonade.
The BBQ led into the annual River Symposium. Over 125 community members actively listened to talks about our area’s rivers and ecosystems.
There were talks on the importance of wood in rivers, salmonid monitoring, the importance of beavers to ecosystems, the rich Native American cultural history of the White Salmon River and the area, the importance of Wild & Scenic Rivers, the White Salmon River Shoreline Plan and a video presentation on the Condit Dam removal by local middle school students. In classic White Salmon River Fest Symposium fashion, the evening ran late due to a positive and engaging conversation during the community forum.
Saturday, June 29th’s festivities started at 10am with a weeding and planting party in Northwestern Lake Park and a river clean up at BZ Falls and the BZ Corner boat launch.
While the community service projects were going on, the annual Green Truss Kayak Race registration was underway. This year’s race had over 30 competitors and a dozen or so volunteers.
After the race, racers and spectators took a few minutes to collect themselves before gathering to run the Middle White Salmon for the festival’s first post-race Stoke Float. Over 35 kayakers and rafters ascended on the river and enjoyed a fun community paddle.
The weekend came to a grand finale at the Logs Inn in BZ Corner. The party started off with race awards and finished with music and celebration. Over one hundred people danced the night away to the music of Funkship in celebration of the beautiful river valley we call home.
A big thanks to Jackson Kayak!
Part of White Salmon River Fest is bringing the community together in appreciation for the river, so we want to give a HUGE shout out to Jackson Kayak for donating a Jackson Zen to this year’s festival. Congrats to the winner of the kayak, Pat Connolly!
Thank you to all of the organizers, sponsors, speakers, volunteers & participants. Special thanks to Wet Planet, U.S. Forest Service, SHARE the White Salmon River, Friends of the White Salmon River, Yakama Nation Fisheries, Jackson Kayak, White Salmon Bakery, Mugs Coffee, Pyranha Kayaks, Immersion Research, Klickitat County Fire District 3 & Husum Community Church of God.
Author Mikey Goyette leads Wet Planet’s Marketing team. When he’s not in the office, you can find him in his kayak on the river, or on the river bank playing Spike Ball.