Last September, I was honored to photograph the very first Skagit River Salmon Festival event in Mount Vernon, Washington. I was jazzed to do so for a variety of reasons. First, I love salmon! And I think it's important to ensure that we conserve the amazing natural resources of my home town's beautiful Skagit River.
As an aside, when I finished breast cancer treatment in 2008, I read a lot about nutrition and learned that most beef and chicken sold to the American public is full of hormones. Who knows if there is a direct link between our food and the rising rate of breast cancer? I believe there is, so I was on a mission to figure out what I could safely eat. Wild salmon fit the bill! Let's hear it for delicious, healthy salmon! The LiveStrong organization has put together some facts about the health benefits of eating wild salmon; you can find it here.
Also, after being involved with the event, I learned that the Skagit River is the only large river system in Washington state that contains healthy populations of all five native salmon species (and two species of trout). As if that weren't enough, the river also supports the largest wintering bald eagle population in the continental United States! Put that in your pipe and smoke it! Hoo yeah!
For those of you into these kind of things, check out this list of wildlife in the Skagit River Basin. (And I haven't even touched on the rich cultural heritage surrounding the Skagit River, including the Swinomish Indian tribal community.)
The older I get, the more I realize how blessed I am to live in this beautiful part of the country with all of these amazing resources.
So, back to the festival. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and the turn-out was incredible: at least 3,000 people! Many mentioned how they have yearned for this type of event, celebrating all the things we love about the Skagit River, its salmon resources, and the community built around it.
The inaugural festival was a huge success and promises to be even bigger and better in 2013.
Enjoy the photos!