Kokanee Salmon Festival just around the river’s bend
The U.S. Forest Service and its co-sponsors are busy making plans for the 12th annual Kokanee Salmon Festival. The festival celebrates the dramatic and colorful spawning behaviors of the Kokanee Salmon, where a close-up look at this natural display is available in Taylor Creek and the Stream Profile Chamber.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7 at the Forest Service Visitor Center, three miles north of South Lake Tahoe on State Route 89.
The festival is planned as a family event encouraging participation by children and their parents in a wide variety of educational and entertaining events. This year’s celebrations include a number of events and activities that have become associated with the Salmon Festival. Back this year will be the Salmon Feed, 5k, 10k and half-marathon trail runs, a children’s run, children’s activities, educational programs and booths and streamside programs.
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 that is 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.
Back after a four-year absence from the festival is songwriter, singer and musician, Chris Bayer. He will bring along his old-time banjo, button accordion, harmonica and guitar and play old-time American folk songs for children of all ages. And if that isn’t enough, he also will break out his spoons and his washtub bass. Bayer and his daughter, Danita, will perform at 3 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater.
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care will again be serving a delicious barbecue salmon plate both days. For $10 visitors can feast on salmon steak (Pacific Ocean variety,) corn on the cob, coleslaw, roll and a beverage. Other food items will be available for those who haven’t developed a salmon palate. Salmon will be served Saturday from 11 a.m. until after Bayer’s performance and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds will 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. This 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.
On Sunday the Tahoe Mountain Milers Cub will present the Kokanee Trail Runs. The Half-marathon trail run will begin at 9 a.m. with children’s 1/2-mile Tadpole Trot starting at 9:15 a.m. After the children are finished, adults and a 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 will begin at 8 a.m. Registration and early packet pickup will be available at the Camp Richardson Oktoberfest from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 6. An award ceremony, complete with a chance for runners to win raffle prizes, will take place following the runs at the Taylor Creek Snowpark parking lot.
For more information about the Kokanee Trail Runs or to get an application call (530) 542-3424 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications also are available at the Visitor Center at Taylor Creek and the supervisor’s office at 870 Emerald Bay Road. Visit the Tahoe Mountain Milers Web site at http://www.tahoemtnmilers.org for event information and 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 volunteer to help call Dave Cotter at (530) 542-3424.
Throughout the day children will be greeted by Sammy Salmon, the official mascot of the Kokanee Salmon Festival. At over 5 feet tall he’s the world’s largest Kokanee Salmon and the only Kokanee known to walk on his tailfins. Events include the fishing booth where children cast their line for prizes, oriental art of fish painting, education booths by Project Kokanee, California Fish and Game, Lahonton National Fish Hatchery, a black bear display by the Nevada Division of Wildlife, self-guided nature tours and Kokanee Salmon T-shirt sales.
With the Kokanee Salmon Festival at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center and the Octoberfest at Historic Camp Richardson, the parking lot at the Visitor Center is mostly full. Plenty of free parking is available at Camp Richardson, where a free trolley will be available to shuttle visitors back and forth. Visitors are encouraged to ride a bike along the bike path to Camp Richardson and the Visitor Center.
Sponsors of the 2001 Kokanee Salmon Festival and the Kokanee Trail Runs are Alpen Sierra Coffee Company, Alpina Cafe, Historic Camp Richardson Resort, Nor-Cal Beverage, U.S. Foods, Bonanza Produce, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, Tahoe Heritage Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service. 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.
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