It started with a trip to the river. It’s hard to deny the pull that a wild, winding river has on a person’s spirit, let alone the rush you feel when you get that first tug on your fishing line from something below the water’s murky surface. You see the flash of silver as the fish fights against the pull of your rod. It’s a jolt to the system, to be suddenly immersed in the river, connected to one of its inhabitants and all of its wildness. It’s that very thought that has propelled Wild Salmon Center to grow from a small group of passionate fly fisherman to an international nonprofit organization that has helped protect fish and habitat on over 10,000 miles of rivers around the Pacific Rim.
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Wild Salmon Center builds alliances with the most effective local partners working in the richest, strongest Pacific river systems. Our group focuses on salmon because they are a powerful symbol, wild to the core, with an incredible life story. Salmon are a vital link to conserving life in the North Pacific; from caddisflies to grizzly bears to orcas, over 130 species depend on salmon. By protecting salmon, WSC protects entire ecosystems. We help partners design and implement winning strategies built on WSC’s scientific, political, legal, and fundraising expertise.
Wild Salmon Center’s place-based strategy allows us to focus on the needs of each project area, bringing to our partners whatever it is they need to win. In Russia we helped partners protect 2 million acres of salmon habitat and helped move over 50% of salmon fisheries on the Kamchatka Peninsula into Fisheries Improvement Projects. In Alaska WSC is working to permanently protect Bristol Bay from the development of one of the world’s largest open pit mines and keep the state from approving a large dam on the Susitna River, right at the foot of the iconic Denali National Park. In July, 2015, WSC helped leverage $11 million dollars in Washington State funding toward restoring watersheds along the Olympic Peninsula, part of an entirely new strategy of proactive salmon conservation.
And right here in Oregon, Wild Salmon Center has formed a coalition to protect the North Coast forests just west of Portland.
The Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests are 45 minutes outside of Portland’s backdoor and one of the state’s best keep secrets. But these forests also have a fraught history with logging, fires, and more logging. They are now 50 to 70 years into the recovery process and offer prime habitat for vibrant communities of fish and wildlife as well as an immense array of recreational opportunities. The Wilson and Kilchis rivers host globally important runs of Chinook, chum, coho, and steelhead. Both forests provide camping, biking, fishing, hunting, and hiking grounds for thousands of Oregonians, and they also provide over 400,000 people with clean drinking water.
Wild Salmon Center is a founding member of the North Coast State Forest Coalition, a diverse group of over 100 businesses, governing bodies, and nonprofits working to leverage public support to increase forest and streamside protection along the North Coast. These popular and biologically important areas deserve real protection. That’s why we’re asking state and federal leaders to protect 33,000 acres of land around the Wilson and Kilchis rivers and another 8,000 acres around Kings Mountain. It’s no easy task to ensure a future for these forests, but this is where you can help.
Start with a trip to the river. Visit the Wilson River with your family, your kids swimming in its cool waters as tiny salmon fry swim below them at the very beginning stages of their life cycle. Hike up Kings Mountain or Elk Mountain with your friends. Your reward: the views of Mount Hood and the Pacific Ocean on either side of you when you stand taller than the trees. Whichever adventure you choose, there’s no doubt that when you visit the Tillamook or Clatsop Forests you will understand why it’s so important to protect these special places.
Learn more about the North Coast State Forest Coalition on its website. Join in the coalition by signing up for its newsletter and signing on to the latest action alerts to protect the Wilson/Kilchis and Kings Mountain. The places where WSC work are truly breathtaking, and if you want a dose of something wild, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Lastly, save the date, September 5, 2015, for a day of Wilson River Fun. The coalition will be throwing a huge celebration to get people outside and enjoy these amazing places.
Check out the adventures in this area, some of which are included below, and find some time to get out and see why these areas just west of Portland are worth protecting.
Wild Salmon Center is an international organization committed to the conservation and sustainable use of wild salmon ecosystems across the Pacific Rim. From northern California up to British Columbia, Alaska and across the Pacific to Russia, WSC partners with local communities, governments, businesses, and other key stakeholders in a shared commitment to long-term stewardship of salmon and their home rivers. WSC has been working to protect wild rivers for over 20 years and we are excited to join them in exploring and protecting these amazing places.