Thursday, July 1, 2010

Snake River Salmon Bring It Home

© Neil Ever Osborne, iLCP

Save Our Wild Salmon and the
International League of Conservation Photographers have joined forces to tell the story of the Snake River's one of a kind salmon and the place they call home.

Since setting foot in the Sawtooth Valley this week, we've been on a mission to capture late spring wildflowers lighting up meadows, the pristine waters of rivers and streams cutting through the landscape and the grandeur of the rugged Sawtooth Mountains reaching up from the base of Redfish Lake. We're here to give a face to the name of the fight to save the Snake River's one of a kind salmon.
© Neil Ever Osborne, iLCP

Yesterday, we caught up with Ed Cannady, the backcountry ranger for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Ed has lived in or near the valley for more than 30 years and has logged more miles of backcountry trails in this place than pretty much anyone. Having racked up miles on every single trail in the Sawtooth and White Cloud mountain ranges (seriously), Ed's a walking, talking encyclopedia on all things involving wilderness and wildlife.

We hiked through sage and aspen to the top of a pitch near Boundary Creek and overlooking the Sawtooth range. With a storm rolling in, we took cover from the rain under a massive lodgepole pine. As we looked over the dark clouds looming at the peaks of the mountains, I asked Ed how salmon are connected to the landscape sprawling out below.
© Neil Ever Osborne, iLCP

"It's not how this landscape benefits salmon, it's how salmon benefit this land," he said. "Salmon are one of the most noble creatures out there. When you stand on the riverbank and watch this mother salmon digging her redd, knocking the flesh off her own body, it's overwhelming to think about what these fish take on to survive. We're the last generation who can save them. And I don't want to be the generation who witnesses the glaciers disappear from Glacier National Park, or see salmon disappear from the Salmon River, or sockeye disappear from Redfish Lake."

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