The Salute to the Sockeye Festival finished on Sunday

Thousands take in Salute to Sockeye

It’s too early to tell exactly how many salmon returned to the Adams River to spawn, but the festival was a big success

It’s too early to tell exactly how many salmon returned to the Adams River to spawn, but the Salute to the Sockeye Festival was a big success.

This year’s dominant run celebration welcomed more than three million sockeye and 124,000 human visitors from around the globe.

Tired but elated, Salute event co-ordinator, Jeremy Heighton, was impressed with the event that combined the efforts of many.

“It is a privilege to be able to educate and inform our visitors about the poetically beautiful story of the salmon and how, as a society, we are all linked together through our natural environment,” he said. “People often leave here with a new perspective on their role in protecting our vibrant natural world.”

Heighton credited “tremendous community spirit and pride” from Adams River Salmon Society directors, staff and other groups that worked to provide a world-class event.

“We couldn’t have hosted this spectacular event without every one of you,” Heighton said, offering thanks to the chamber of commerce, Shuswap Tourism and a number of businesses.

“Once again, our business community stepped up and supported us with sponsorships to build a much-needed addition on the cabin, provide new and improved lighting and a heater so we can actually keep warm in the shoulder seasons, and to provide entertainment for the event,” said Heighton.

Society members expressed gratitude to the Pacific Salmon Commission and Rocky Mountaineer Railtours for funding to build the new, state-of-the-art viewing platform and noted trails were enhanced and much-needed fencing was put up in places to protect the banks and other areas from being eroded.

“Our society and our volunteers can take pride in the fact that we did our best to ensure that our human visitors had a safe, enjoyable time while at the park,” said Adams River Salmon Society president Darlene McBain. “We also did our best to keep the salmon safe and the ecosystem of the park intact – not an easy task when you have thousands of people in the park at one time.”

The society has tried to implement new protocols and systems this year to improve the running of this event and would appreciate any feedback visitors may have as to what they thought worked well, and what they think could be improved on.  Email McBain at with your comments.

The next Salute to the Sockeye Festival will be in 2018.

It is the society’s intention to continue to be open every season until then and to have some events to celebrate the salmon as they return every fall and to enjoy beautiful Roderick Haig-Brown park.

As to the number of fish that returned this year, Stu Cartwright, acting area director of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the B.C. Interior, says it’s far too early to tell, as fish are still entering the river and are expected to do so until late this month.

“Based on the factors at our disposal, our best projection would be between three and three-and-a-half million sockeye,” he said.


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