A remarkable Columbia River journey is underway. Voyages of Rediscovery, a river-based environmental education program, is paddling two dugout canoes up the Columbia River — making the 1,240-mile journey from the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Oregon to Canal Flats, British Columbia. Their mission is to bring public attention to the lack of fish passage at dams on the Columbia River.
The hand-carved canoes were built with the help of young students from the Spokane Indian Reservation and the Colville Reservation.
Today, August 17, the Columbia Canoe Journey is in the Tri-Cities, having traveled 330 river miles from the mouth of the River since August 2. Here’s a note from Adam Wicks-Arschak, one of the organizers:
We are currently at Tri-Cities. The trip has thus far been blessed by great tail winds and we have sailed most of the way up river from the ocean where we started on Aug. 2nd.
We paddle in honor of the salmon who can no longer reach their ancestral spawning grounds of the upper Columbia River. Along the way we have been talking to hundreds of people on the river and sparking conversations about salmon and fish passage issues. Once schools start up we will be doing presentations and paddling events at the schools.
In particular the schools who carved the canoes will be joining us on portions of the trip. The Spokane Tribe and Colville Tribe will join us from Chief Joseph (dam) up to their respective communities of Wellpinit and Inchelium. This will be very powerful, to paddle these salmon-inspired canoes with the youth who carved them, up into the historic spawning grounds of the upper Columbia River.
You can check out a great video about the creation of the two canoes that are making the journey at Voyages for Rediscovery’s website.
Hood River News ran an article about the canoe journey on August 9, as the crew came through the Gorge.
We’ll keep you updated on the journey as it comes up the River.