Celebrating the return of sockeye salmon in the South Okanagan

Interpreters share the story of the sockeye salmons’ journey to the ocean and back

The public is invited to celebrate the return of the sockeye salmon at open houses in Penticton and Oliver. (Photo courtesy Inge van Oostveen)

One of the magical events every autumn is watching as sockeye salmon return to lakes and rivers where they were born, completing their cycle of life.

The Okanagan Nation Alliance and the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance are joining forces to host two open houses to help the public celebrate the return of the sockeye salmon after their 6,000-kilometre journey to the ocean and back.

Interpreters will be on hand to talk about the life cycle of the sockeye salmon, the challenges these fish face as they travel through different habitats and the efforts to restore spawning habitat in Oliver and Penticton.

“Unfortunately, not as many salmon entered the Columbia River this year, which may be related in part to a warmer ocean,” said Lee McFadyen, who works with the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative. “Even though the run is reduced from last year, there will still be ample opportunity to witness salmon spawning.”

The first open house takes place on Oct. 14 at the Okanagan River Restoration Site just north of Oliver. There is parking at the Oliver Visitors Centre, 6431 Station St., and the site is an easy one-kilometre walk north along the bike and hike path. Wheelchair accessible.

The second open house is in Penticton on Oct. 21, at the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative spawning beds on the river channel, on both sides of the dam located just south of Okanagan Lake. Parking at Loco Landing parking lot, 75 Riverside Dr.

The events run rain or shine. For more information contact Jayme Friedt at 250-488-9894 or oscaecostudies@gmail.com.