Posts Tagged Middle Fork rafting

Save the Fish, Dam the Politics

It is no secret that the Salmon River is a special place. There is an immense amount of history, stories, and delicate ecosystems that are nestled into the framework of this beautiful area. One of the most extraordinary phenomena that occur here is the Salmon runs that return to the Middle Fork and Main Salmon. This is one of the wildest and most scenic parts of Idaho, which also happens to be the place that the Salmon return to each year.

Salmon Lifecycle

These Salmon live their life in six stages: egg, alevin, fry, parr, smolt, and adult salmon. Throughout their time as eggs, alevin, fry, and parr, the Salmon live in the stream that they were born in and will eventually return to as an adult (1-3 years). Once Salmon enter the smolt stage, they let the water push them to the Pacific Ocean where they will adjust to the salt water and live their life at the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.

After spending 3-7 years in the Pacific Ocean, the Salmon will swim all the way up the Columbia River, Snake River, and Salmon River to make it back to the place they were hatched near Stanley, Idaho. This is so that they can spawn and lay their eggs in a familiar place where the next generation of Salmon will be hatched. However, this is not an easy task considering that there are eight dams that stand between the Salmon and their final destination in Central Idaho. According to studies that have been done surrounding Salmon populations, 2% of Salmon must return in order to maintain the current population. However, this is lower than the desired amount of a 4% return rate. The alarming part of this study is that since Salmon have to swim through eight dams in order to return to Idaho, there is currently less than a 1% return rate. As of now, the state of Idaho has spent over $17 billion trying to solve this problem with no improvement to the Salmon return rate. 

What’s Next?

Currently, we have the opportunity as a generation to fix an environmental mistake that has created a negative impact on the environment. This would be taking out the four dams that currently sit on the Lower Snake River. Removing the Lower Snake Dams would not only create another free-flowing river but would also largely benefit the ecosystem. When the salmon move from the Pacific Ocean back up to the Salmon River, marine nutrients are pushed into the rivers. This largely benefits the ecosystems due to the fact that these rivers would otherwise be low-productivity rivers and not otherwise obtain these essential nutrients. Overall this benefits the plants, animals, and water systems along the Columbia, Snake, and Salmon Rivers. 

The dams that are currently reducing the rate of Salmon return are located on the Columbia River and Lower Snake River – ultimately creating eight barriers that the salmon have to navigate. However, we are currently at a point where the dams on the Lower Snake River either need to be rebuilt or be taken out – and we are pushing to have them removed. This is so that the fish have fewer obstacles and therefore have a higher chance of making it all the way back upstream to lay their eggs. There has been a large amount of controversy surrounding this subject, which has also brought forth an ample amount of questions. Some of these questions can be answered here. Idaho’s 2nd District Republican Representative, Mike Simpson, is pushing to have the Lower Snake River Dams removed in order to help support the Salmon runs. This is an extremely beneficial push for this movement due to the fact that the 2nd District covers almost all of south-eastern Idaho – therefore creating a large amount of pull for Simpson’s plan. His plan will include input from the Northwest delegation, governors, tribes, and stakeholders. Evidently, this project is on a tight timeline and  will cost a vast amount of money, but, it will also help revive the fish populations and furthermore the ecosystems that surround these rive

Ultimately, the fight to remove the Lower Snake Dams is a fight for the environment. No matter what political alignment you belong to if you believe in the survival of the Salmon you should be spreading the word of “Save the Fish Dam the Politics”. One way that we are showing our support here at Rocky Mountain River Tours is that we painted our busses to look like fish that go up and down the Salmon River every day for our white water rafting tours. This is a visual reminder that the fish in this river are a prominent part of our ecosystem and should be returning to the headwaters each year. 

If you are curious about the Salmon River and the systems that surround it, join us on a multiday trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon or on the River of No Return. Both of these trips are an amazing introduction to the Wilderness area and the rivers that run through it. After going on one of these trips, you will not be able to deny the need to remove the Lower Snake Dams and bring the Slamon back to these headwaters. 

Photo by Barker

Its simple really…..Food & Guides

Rocky Mountain River Tours maintains an enviable reputation on the Middle Fork of the Salmon.  A common question from potential guests…“why choose Rocky?”  Its true, all of the outfits on the Middle fork benefit from the amazing beauty of the Frank Church, the pristine waters of the Middle Fork and the magic that occurs from spending 6 days away from civilization with a small group of new friends.   In the end its simple,  three factors are at play.

Guides, Gear & Food

Middle Fork Guides for Rocky
The Rocky Guides

 

The Guides

Middle Fork guides belong to an upper echelon in the guiding community.  They have been tested by the high waters of Spring, the technical boating of August and all the variables that pop up while leading 24 experienced guests through the largest Wilderness in the US.  The one thing that sets the Rocky crew apart from the competition is tenure.  The current crew of Rocky guides has been working together for 10 seasons.  They are well oiled machine when it comes to camp duties and on the on-water program.  But the most distinguishing factor is their chemistry, like characters in a movie.  Each with unique strengths & personalities that combine to result  in the best crew on the Middle Fork.

The Gear

Rocky pulls out all the stops when it comes to gear.  New sleeping bags and pillows are purchased annually while large river mattresses, spacious new Mountain Hardware tents and comfortable chairs are the norm.  Rocky provides a sanitary and private bathroom system with running water hand wash, solar showers and purified water.

The Food

Excuse us while we brag.  Rocky offers the best food on the river, period.  This is not a new thing, its a tradition. Sheila Mills, Rocky founder is the genius behind the menu design while Rachel B. is the culinary artists that puts all the pieces together.  The result is the most divers, fresh and healthy menu on the river.  Sheila has made a career at designing dutch oven entrees and amazing deserts.  She has published three Dutch-Oven cookbooks and continues to push the limits of what can be created in a riverside kitchen.    The Rocky menu is so diverse and impressive that it has its own fan club.  In an effort to keep the groupies happy we will be posting our 2013 recipe’s over the next few weeks.

SMOKED TROUT APPETIZER

1 pkg.(1#)                 SMOKED TROUT, arranged on parsley
2 boxes                     Breton crackers
2 boxes                     Blue Diamond crackers (gluten free)
1 container             Smokehouse Almonds
1 wedge                     English Cotswold cheese
1 bag                       Red Grapes (displayed around or next to the cheese)

BLEU CHEESE & PECAN  SALAD

1 bag                       Mixed Baby Greens
1 zip (3 cups)             Toasted pecans, in Ziploc
1 container                 Bleu cheese, crumbled
2 bottles                   Earth & Vine Honey Pear Vinaigrette
5                           Green Apples, chopped at the last minute & tossed in.
(toss salad with dressing & serve immediately)

SPICY PESTO LASAGNA – 3 DO’S (1 VEGGIE)

1 pkg.(3#)                 Jody Maroni Yucatan chicken & duck bulk sausage
1-container                Pesto
18-20 lg..                 Tomatoes, sliced
3 pkg                      Sfoglia
1-32 oz.+2 cups           Plain yogurt
1 ziplock(3#)              Jack cheese, grated-use all
1 zip                      Parmesan cheese, grated (4 C.)

Arrange pasta sheets in bottom of 3 DO’s.
Spread each sheet with pesto.
Break up sausage thinly & evenly on pesto.
Put on layer of tomato slices.
Spread with yogurt.
Sprinkle with Jack cheese & Parmesan
Put on another sheet of sfoglia.
Repeat all of above.
Top with sheet of pasta covered with sliced tomatoes and small amount of Parmesan.
Bake till golden & bubbly.

THYME-PARMESAN FOCACCIA

1 ziplock              Dry ingredients, mix well
3 Pkg.                 Yeast
3 cups                 Warm water
½ cup                  Olive oil
1 zip                  Parmesan, grated
Mix well.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead dough until soft and sticky about 5 minutes.  Divide in half and roll out & punch into rounds the size of DO bottom. Let rise about 20 minutes and sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper.  With lightly oiled fingertips make indentations, about ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart all over dough.  Bake with the lid covered with hot coals for about 20 minutes until golden.

1 ½                    Caramel Fudge Pecan Tortes-slice into 30 wedges