Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Salmonstock Draws Record Crowds

The fourth annual celebration of wild salmon and the people who depend on them drew upwards of 7,000 visitors to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds Aug. 1-3, for three days of music, art, food and information.

The big crowd pleaser at this year’s Salmonstock was music provided by some 60 bands, including Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, plus Alaska favorites like the Ratfish Wranglers, a group including popular fisheries artist Ray Troll, that describes itself as a wild bunch of artist-musicians who hail from Ketchikan.

In addition to celebrating wild salmon, Salmonstock is a fundraiser for the Renewable Resources Coalition and Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to protect Alaska’s hunting and fishing resources. Proceeds from Salmonstock will be used to protect wild Alaska salmon from the proposed Pebble mine and similar threats, organizers said.

Along with non-stop music, the event offers a broad range of food booths, serving up everything from fish tacos to bagels with a smoke salmon schmear, cheeseburgers, quesadillas and funnel cakes.

There were also 10 information booths, offering information on everything from opportunities to volunteer to clean up river systems to a ballot measure that will be on the general election ballot in November to protect wild salmon. The so-called Bristol Bay Forever initiative would require the Alaska Legislature to approve future large-scale metallic sulfide mines in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve by passing a law that would have to find that the proposed mine would not endanger the fishery within the reserve.

Event sponsors this year included Trout Unlimited, the Wild Salmon Center, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association and more than a dozen other entities.

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