Salmon centre of attention
It may not be the once-in-a-lifetime run from 2010, but this year’s Adams River sockeye-salmon run is still expected to be a spectacular phenomenon.
Early estimates for the 2011 run put returning sockeye salmon at about 58,000 — but the number has now jumped to 400,000.
“It’s really good news,” said Jim Cooperman of the Adams River Salmon Society.
He said those numbers are at the high end of the long-term average for the second year of the salmon’s four-year cycle.
Last year wouldn’t even be considered an anomaly, as more then 3.8-million sockeye returned to the river to spawn, making 2010 the biggest run in a century.
Salmon watchers have been concerned with dwindling stocks over the years.
Cooperman said there are many stresses on the salmon, including warming ocean temperatures from climate change, salmon farms, disease, low river flows and warming river waters.
“All these factors are certainly resulting in the concern about the salmon but, at least for last year and this year, things are looking up,” he said.
Not only did the river turn pink with salmon in 2010 but, for the month of October, the world was welcomed as tourists descended on the region to witness history.
At the centre of the celebration was Roderick Haig-Brown Park, the site of the run.
More than 200,000 people visited the park during the three-week Salute to Sockeye Festival.
The region isn’t expected to attract nearly as many people for this year’s run, but Cooperman still figures thousands of people will turn out.
For anyone who wants to make the trek to the park, the height of the run is predicted for Oct. 21.
The Adams River Salmon Society is also reminding the public about a few changes
to the park from last year.
Cooperman noted trails around the park have changed due to high stream flows from the spring, which caused erosion and damaged a viewing platform.
Visitors can expect detours throughout the park and are being urged to follow the signs.