Issaquah Salmon Hatchery history is focus of 75th anniversary program

July 17, 2012

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery
The historic Issaquah Salmon Hatchery started raising salmon along Issaquah Creek in 1937.

The iconic Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is celebrating 75 years, and to mark the occasion, the Issaquah History Museums is educating residents about the downtown facility — a lifesaver for countless salmon since the 1930s.

Conservationists and longtime Issaquah residents credit the hatchery for restoring the historic Issaquah Creek salmon runs after decades of logging and mining damaged the creek and surrounding watershed.

The program is among a series of events to commemorate the 1937 hatchery opening.

Jane Kuechle, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery executive director, plans to offer attendees a glimpse at the hatchery from throughout the decades.

“It’ll be a past, present, future kind of presentation,” said Laile Di Silvestro, Issaquah History Museums program coordinator.

In 1936, Works Progress Administration crews started to build the hatchery complex on a former city park and bandstand.

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Experts host workshop for businesses, nonprofits

May 8, 2012

Leaders of businesses and nonprofit organizations can learn how to gain a crucial edge in cause marketing, a growing market niche, at a local workshop May 22.

According to Cone’s 2010 Cause Evolution Study, 83 percent of Americans wish more of the products, services and retailers they use supported causes. (Cone Communications is a public relations and marketing company.)

In order to educate business and nonprofit leaders, business consultant Joni Kovarik and nonprofit consultant Jane Kuechle teamed up to offer the cause marketing workshop.

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Catching a legacy as Issaquah Salmon Hatchery turns 75

April 24, 2012

Vicki Hahn (above, left), FISH master docent, uses hatchery sculptures Gillda and Finley to explain how salmon spawn for Lika Clark, 9, her brother Peter Ginter, 13, and their mother Jessica Ginter. By Greg Farrar

The humble buildings along a downtown street and the simple bridge across Issaquah Creek do not call out for attention, but the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is iconic nonetheless — so iconic, the hatchery and the salmon raised in manmade ponds serve as symbols for Issaquah and the region.

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FISH invites public to catch Issaquah Salmon Hatchery’s 75th anniversary

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.

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Kokanee fundraiser nets almost $10,000 for preservation

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.

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Issaquah businesses target tourists for attractions, events

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.

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Cruise passengers urged to explore beyond Seattle

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.”

Bill Bryant

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.

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Salmon Days Festival delivers mild, wild fun

October 4, 2011

Issaquah’s annual celebration returns for 42nd year

The S’Duk Albix parade float, with Snoqualmie Tribe members, enthralls Grande Parade spectators. Phot0 by Greg Farrar

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.

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Issaquah hatchery could collect fewer salmon eggs as cost-cutting measure

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.”

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FISH stewardship salvages Salmon in the Classroom

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.

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