April 17, 2012
The iconic Issaquah Salmon Hatchery opened along Issaquah Creek 75 years ago and, in the decades since, developed into a symbol for the community and a lifeline for fish species.
The anniversary celebration is due to start April 22, Earth Day, as the nonprofit organization Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery hosts a public open house. The daylong celebration launches a series of events to mark the milestone.
“The hatchery brought back the salmon to Issaquah,” FISH Executive Director Jane Kuechle said.
April 3, 2012
Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon supporters raised almost $10,000 last month to protect the disappearing fish species.
Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and Coho Café organized a March 16 fundraiser to net dollars for a kokanee restoration program.
The sold-out event raised funds from ticket sales for a reception at the Watershed Science Center on the hatchery grounds and a silent wine auction benefit.
Matt Baerwalde, a Snoqualmie Nation representative, presented a $5,000 check to FISH Executive Director Jane Kuechle for the kokanee spawning program.
October 25, 2011
Issaquah leaders often describe local qualities as treasures — a quaint downtown, mountain panoramas, historic buildings and more.
Local businesspeople describe such attractions as “tourism assets” all set for out-of-town guests to enjoy and, in the process, spend dollars in hotels and restaurants.
Issaquah Chamber of Commerce officials gathered representatives from local “tourism assets” Oct. 18 to discuss successes and opportunities to lure more tourists to the area.
Leaders from artEAST, Cougar Mountain Zoo, Village Theatre, and other Issaquah attractions and events, said attendance is strong, but sometimes people overlook local offerings.
“Tastin’ N Racin’ — unfortunately — is Issaquah’s best-kept secret,” event organizer Craig Cooke said. “Nationally, it’s not. There are events in 13 other states that have all called and patterned their event on what goes on on land and what goes on in water.”
Tastin’ N Racin’ attracts 20,000 people — and sometimes up to 50,000 — to Lake Sammamish State Park each June for hydroplane races and onshore offerings.
Other long-established attractions face a similar challenge in luring potential tourists.
October 25, 2011
From the Space Needle to Pike Place Market, Seattle has plenty to offer its guests, but the Washington Tourism Alliance and the Port of Seattle are encouraging cruise ship tourists to explore beyond the predictable city limits. They are hoping tourists will venture into the suburban and rural areas outside of Seattle, including Issaquah.
“It’s really about what can you offer as an attractive package as an add-on to the cruise purchase,” said Dan Trimble, then-economic development manager for the city of Issaquah. “We’re pretty fortunate here to have several things that can be easily compartmentalized to those packages.”
From the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and Cougar Mountain Zoo, to outdoor opportunities and shopping districts, Issaquah has plenty to offer its tourists, Trimble said.
This is part of a plan carried out by the newly established Washington Tourism Alliance, which is working along with the Port of Seattle and other tourism agencies to let people know about the tourist opportunities that exist outside of Seattle.
“The cruise ship (industry) brings about $400 million to King County and the region, and that’s because the passengers are staying one to two nights in the area. But most of them are spending that time in downtown Seattle,” Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant said.
He said he hopes the cruise ship tourists extend their stay and explore the surrounding areas, “whether that is wineries in Woodinville or going out to Snoqualmie Falls.”
The state Legislature recently cut funding for the state tourism office.
In its place, various stakeholders including the port, some of the hotel associations and some of the restaurant associations have established the WTA to serve as a vehicle for communities to reach out to tourists, Bryant said.
October 4, 2011
Issaquah’s annual celebration returns for 42nd year
Organizers promised a wild Salmon Days Festival.
The mild temperatures — misty clouds on Oct. 1 yielded to stray sunshine Oct. 2 — belied a rowdy theme, and crowds turned out in droves for the salmon-centric celebration.
The festival unfolded as a tribute to the untamed under the theme “Wild Things!” — a riff on the classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are.”
Salmon Days spanned Issaquah, from hydroplane races on Lake Sammamish to booths lined up downtown to a float-filled parade inching along city streets. The festival lured more than 150,000 people to Issaquah as the annual autumn celebration returned for a 42nd year.
To celebrate the occasion, Maple Valley resident Bob Taylor ordered a Flintstonian turkey leg from a Foods of the World booth along the trolley track and tore off a bite from the outsized drumstick.
September 27, 2011
The unsettled economy is threatening the chinook-salmon spawning program at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has proposed reducing the number of chinook eggs collected at Issaquah and other state-run hatcheries to cut costs as the state faces a $1.4 billion shortfall.
The proposal recommends for the local hatchery to collect about 1.3 million eggs — about 1 million fewer than hatchery crews planned to collect.
“Issaquah is not a sole target in this,” said Doug Hatfield, hatchery operations manager for the region encompassing Issaquah. “This is a decision that the agency put forth to distribute this impact throughout Puget Sound and on the coast.”
September 27, 2011
Under a plan hatched after state support for the Salmon in the Classroom program dissolved, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is serving as the coordinator for more than 100 schools involved in the popular program.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife used to administer the program, but after state lawmakers drained Salmon in the Classroom dollars last year, a grassroots effort formed to salvage it.
FISH is in the midst of a fundraising effort to facilitate Salmon in the Classroom. The nonprofit organization needs to raise $10,000 for the effort to succeed.
August 30, 2011
Future visitors to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery will be able to take a piece, or at least a souvenir, of the hatchery home with them.
“A gift shop has been a dream of a lot of people for a long time,” said Jane Kuechle, executive director of the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.
As many know, FISH operates various programs at the state-owned hatchery. It also will operate what will be the facility’s first gift shop and the nonprofit group has set a tentative opening day of Sept. 10, Kuechle said.
Right now, she added, organizers are in the midst of ordering merchandise for the shop. That merchandise includes T-shirts, posters, pins and various books. The last will be for adults and children, Kuechle said.
At least initially, the gift shop will only be open on weekends. Staff will consist of FISH volunteers.
August 30, 2011
The autumn salmon spawning season in Issaquah Creek started early Aug. 23 as chinook reached the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.
Hatchery Foreman John Kugen spotted a pair of female chinook, or hens, in the creek just north of the bridge across Issaquah Creek on the hatchery grounds and alerted Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery Executive Director Jane Kuechle at about 9 a.m.
“I was here and I was kind of fiddling around the office and all of the sudden he popped his head and he said, ‘The chinook are here!’” she said.
The announcement came as a tour group explored the hatchery. Docents led the guests to the creek bank to see the fish.
“I’m just excited to see the fish come and for things to get started around here,” Kuechle said.
August 23, 2011
NEW — 9:40 a.m. Aug. 23, 2011
Chinook salmon reached Issaquah Creek at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on Tuesday morning, marking the start of the fall spawning season in the creek.
Hatchery Foreman John Kugen spotted a pair of female chinook, or hens, in the creek just north of the bridge across Issaquah Creek on the hatchery grounds, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery Executive Director Jane Kuechle said.
The summer and fall chinook salmon returns to Puget Sound should reach about 243,000 fish — more than the 226,000 fish projected for last year.
In 2010, FISH volunteers and hatchery workers spotted the first salmon of the year in Issaquah Creek in mid-July — more than a month before the fish usually arrive.