The Skagit River Salmon Festival is a celebration of salmon as a magnificent, sustainable, natural resource right here in our backyard! The Skagit River is the stronghold for salmon and steelhead in Puget Sound, and honestly, our region’s best chance to save salmon from being diminished, and arguably our community at the same time.
Usually a short story like this would relay our Skagit salmon story, what they need to survive, how much of that was lost before we knew any better, and what one can do to help. And of course all of that information is available at the Festival each year or local websites.
But this article is about something else. It’s about us, Skagit’s communities, and what we want and need from the ever-changing world around us. It’s about nothing less than our very own prosperity and cultural legacy; and what our children and grandchildren will conclude about us in the future.
This place called the Magic Skagit has provided us with so much. Its natural abundance creates jobs in forestry, agriculture, fishing, and shellfish culture. We have shelter provided by timber harvested right here in the Northwest. We sustain our bodies with bumper crops of potatoes, blueberries, and broccoli. We nourish our souls with pastoral and mountain views and strengthen our muscles by hiking and biking from alpine areas to mudflats. And we are able to share it all with our friends and neighbors because living in the Skagit Valley allows each of us the opportunity to breath in the spirituality that surrounds us here every day
Our spirit, natural capital, cultural heritage, quality of life, and economic stability all add up to something that must be cherished and preserved before it is lost like so many other places; these things define our community’s resilience. How do we do that, you ask? Just keep it the way it is now, and fix a handful of legacy problems. Protect our forests. Protect and restore our estuary and floodplains. Protect our farmlands. Protect our parks and open spaces.
The same challenges that face us as a community will pressure our farms, fish, and forests as well, so we must unite around common solutions to the benefit of all. Poorly planned growth from thousands of folks moving in could swallow up our farmlands. Climate change from unmitigated greenhouse gases will melt our glaciers away, taking with them water for drinking, farming, and sustaining our fish. Less snow means more rain and bigger floods, threatening our economy and personal safety, not to mention the salmon spawning and rearing in our waterways.
It’s time to realize that we have more in common than we think. It’s time to realize that we must work together on common-sense approaches to keeping the Skagit and our communities resilient. It’s time to realize our community, and the fish that depend on us, won’t thrive without our help. Without a common vision, what will we leave our children?
Mark your calendars: 2018 Skagit River Salmon Festival will be September 8, 2018 | 11 am – 6 pm