Local groups team up to support river stewardship

Cascade Mountain School campers from the Mountain to Valley camp raft over a rapid on the White Salmon River with Wet Planet on July 13.

Cascade Mountain School campers from the Mountain to Valley camp raft over a rapid on the White Salmon River with Wet Planet on July 13.

Wet Planet Whitewater is strengthening its commitment to protecting natural resources in the White Salmon River watershed by supporting organizations that provide stewardship service, said a press release.

The Husum whitewater rafting and kayaking company, host of the White Salmon River Fest for the past 13 years, has recognized Mt. Adams Institute (MAI), a non-profit based in Trout Lake, for their ongoing stewardship efforts in the local community.

“Wet Planet is making it financially feasible for MAI program participants (all of whom provide local community service) to get a firsthand look at the impacts its service projects have on the river,” said the press release. “This summer, they will join Wet Planet rafting trips in recognition of those efforts, but also as a reminder of why the work is so important.”

In partnership with the Yakama Nation Fisheries program, Washington State Department of Natural Resources and other public land and natural resource management agencies, participants of MAI programs have engaged in more than 52 service projects since 2011.

Projects have included the White Salmon River delta restoration and clean-up, clearing downed trees in the Underwood Community Center field, invasive plant and trash removal along Jewett Creek and at the Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve, native tree planting and revegetation efforts at a restoration site next to Northwestern Park and other locations, helping establish a native plant nursery at the Yakama Nation Fisheries’ Husum Field Office and more.

“Service to the community and public lands is a major element of all of our programs at Mt. Adams Institute,” said Aaron Stanton, MAI program director. “From our Cascade Mountain School summer youth camps to our adult career development AmeriCorps programs ‘VetsWork: Environment,’ ‘VetsWork: GreenCorps’ and ‘Public Lands Stewards,’ supporting the health of our natural resources and our local communities is key.”

Yakama Nation Fisheries Watershed Planner, Jeanette Burkhardt, said, “I’m always impressed with the positive can-do attitude and problem-solving energy with which Mt. Adams Institute cohorts tackle new tasks, and the diverse skill sets those folks bring with them. Mt. Adams Institute AmeriCorps members and Cascade Mountain School campers have made a noticeable contribution, and I am grateful for their continued service.”

The first MAI groups to raft the White Salmon River under this agreement were the 2018 Pacific Northwest VetsWork: Environment cohort (MAI operates this program in 13 states) on July 12 and the Cascade Mountain School Mountain to Valley camp on July 13.

“I had a blast rafting the White Salmon River with Wet Planet,” said Conway Pebley, a VetsWork AmeriCorps member serving on the Siuslaw National Forest. “If I had never participated in or learned the importance of watershed restoration work, I wouldn’t have known what it takes to keep a resource such as the White Salmon River in its most natural state for ecosystems to thrive and recreationists to enjoy.”

On July 14, the Mountain to Valley campers participated in a project with Yakama Nation Fisheries at a restoration site near Northwestern Park.

They spent the day learning about the importance of watershed restoration after the Condit Dam removal and removing invasive plant species from the restoration site to protect native plantings.

“I think service projects are important for getting to know the land. Being able to give back to nature and the wildlife feels good,” said Jake, a camper from southern California visiting the Pacific Northwest for the first time.

For updates on service projects and rafting trips, follow Mt. Adams Institute on social media at www.facebook.com/Mt.AdamsInstitute and @mtadamsinstitute on Instagram.

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