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Kokanee Salmon festival is coming

The warm days of summer are starting to fade, days are growing shorter and fall is starting to make an appearance in the Tahoe Basin. The Forest Service and its co-sponsors are busy making plans for the 13th annual Kokanee Salmon Festival, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6 at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center, three miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89.

The Kokanee Festival is planned as a family event that encourages participation by children and their parents in a wide variety of educational and entertaining events. This year’s celebrations include the Salmon Feed, 5k and 10k and half-marathon trail runs, a children’s run, children’s activities, educational programs and booths, music and streamside programs. All proceeds from T-shirt sales, festival pin sales and the run events benefit the environmental education programs sponsored by the Forest Service in the Lake Tahoe Basin. For more information about the Kokanee Salmon Festival call the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center at Taylor Creek at (530) 573-2674.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, visitors can learn about the natural wonders of Taylor Creek from Forest service biologists as they stroll along the Rainbow Trail. This peaceful walk through colorful aspens, willows and meadow grasses will introduce visitors to a beautiful, yet fragile ecosystem unique to the Sierra. As the trail reaches Taylor Creek, Kokanee Salmon can be seen making their way upstream. A close-up view of this natural event will be available at the Taylor Creek Stream Profile Chamber, where visitors can get a below-the-surface view of the Kokanee Salmon in Taylor Creek.



Throughout the day, children will be greeted by Sammy Salmon, the official mascot of the Kokanee Salmon Festival. At more than five feet tall, he’s the world’s largest Kokanee Salmon and the only Kokanee known to walk on his tailfins. Events include oriental fish painting; educational games for children; educational booths by Project Kokanee, California Fish and Game and Lahonton National Fish Hatchery; a black bear display by the Nevada Division of Wildlife and a bald eagle display by a Forest Service biologist; self-guided nature tours and Kokanee Salmon T-shirt sales. A framed photograph donated by Second Nature Photography for a fund-raiser for the Forest Service Environmental Education Programs will be on display and raffle ticket will be sold during the festival and throughout October. The drawing will take place at the end of October.

With the popularity of the Kokanee Salmon Festival at the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center at Taylor Creek and the Oktoberfest at Historic Camp Richardson Resort, the parking lot at the Visitor Center fills up quickly. Plenty of free parking is available at Camp Richardson, where a free trolley will be available to shuttle visitors back and forth between the Kokanee Salmon Festival and the Oktoberfest. Visitors are encouraged to ride a bike along the bike path to Camp Richardson and the Visitor Center.




Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care will serve a barbecue salmon plate from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. For $10 visitors can feast on a barbecued salmon steak (the Pacific variety), corn on the cob, coleslaw, roll and a beverage. Other food items also will be available for those who haven’t developed a salmon palate. Proceeds benefit the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care and future Kokanee Salmon Festivals. For more information concerning the Salmon Feed call (530) 577-2273.

At 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday the Forest Service Visitor Center staff will present The Life Cycle of the Kokanee Salmon at the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater. The interactive presentation includes the use of “bigger than life” cutouts of salmon and other animals found around Taylor Creek during the salmon spawn. Children and their parents may be asked to help act out the Kokanee Story.

At 2 p.m. Saturday the Recycled String Band will perform in the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater. This environmentally conscientious band teaches ecological ethics, natural history and science through music. Their music is educational, but also fun for children and people of all ages and walks of life.

On Sunday the Tahoe Milers Running Club will present the Kokanee Trail Runs. The Half Marathon trail run will begin at 9 a.m. and the children’s 1/2-mile “Tadpole Trot” will start at 9:15 a.m. This year’s Half Marathon has been chosen by Road Runners Club of America as the California State Half Marathon Trail Championship and a separate awards ceremony will take place. After the children are finished, adults (and a growing number of youngsters) are invited to compete in the 5k and 10k trail runs starting at 10 a.m. All runs will start at the Taylor Creek Snowpark parking lot. Race day registration begins at 8 a.m. Registration and early packet pickup will be available at the Camp Richardson Oktoberfest from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. An awards ceremony, complete with a chance for runners to win raffle prizes, will take place following the runs at the snowpark parking lot.

For more information about the Kokanee Trail Runs or to get a run application call (530) 542-3424 or e-mail kokaneetrailruns@sbcglobal.net. Applications also are available at the Visitor Center at Taylor Creek and the supervisors office at 870 Emerald Bay Road. Visit the Tahoe Mountain Milers Web site at http://www.tahoemtnmilers.org for event information and a course map. Parking at the Snowpark lot is limited and fills up quickly. Runners are encouraged to park at Camp Richardson and car pool to the Snowpark or arrange to be dropped off. Volunteers are needed during the day of the race to help out with registration, as timers and to help staff aid stations. To register or to volunteer call Dave Cotter at (530) 542-3424.

Sponsors of the 2002 Kokanee Salmon Festival and the Kokanee Trail Runs are Alpen Sierra Coffee Company, Alpina Cafe, Montrail, Gatorade, Historic Camp Richardson, Resort, No-Cal Beverage, U.S. Foods, Bonanza Produce, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, Pro Leisure, Tahoe Heritage Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service.


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