Salmon to Sea

Salmon to Sea

Bill Erickson has a big summer ahead of him. Besides working as a river guide for venerable operator OARS and getting married (pretty big events in our

Bill Erickson has a big summer ahead of him. Besides working as a river guide for venerable operator OARS and getting married (pretty big events in our book), Bill is undertaking a solo source-to-sea kayaking expedition on the Salmon River. In August Erickson will launch his kayak in Stanley, Idaho, near the headwaters of the Salmon. From there he will descend 350 miles on the Salmon itself, where he'll run class III and IV rapids before hitting the Snake and Columbia rivers for the final 600 miles to the ocean.

"This is probably the most insane year I've ever had," the 30-year-old Erickson says.

The purpose of the trip is to raise public awareness of the issues concerning salmon and steelhead on the Salmon and Columbia river system. Erickson hopes his trip will draw national attention to the dismal salmon and steelhead returns in the Northwest's rivers.

During the trip Erickson will personally encounter the biggest obstacle standing in the way of restoring runs of wild salmon and steelhead: dams. There are eight dams between the headwaters of the Salmon River and the ocean: four on the Snake River and four on the Columbia, and Erickson will have to portage around each of them.

If all goes well, Erickson says he expects to reach the Pacific Ocean 45 to 50 days after launching in Stanley. As a part of his public awareness effort, Erickson will stop at communities and cities along the way and give presentations on the importance of protecting and restoring wild salmon and steelhead to the Northwest.

In addition to generating publicity for the salmon and steelhead, Erickson is also raising money for two conservation organizations that work on these issues: Save Our Wild Salmon and Idaho Rivers United.

With the launch date fast approaching, Erickson says, "Right now I am just ready to hit the water."

To find out more about Bill Erickson's Salmon to Sea expedition visit his blog: www.salmontosea.blogspot.com.