The annual Sawtooth Salmon Festival took many visitors to Stanley over the weekend. That’s despite a nearby wildfire that’s brought in smoke to the area.
The festival coincides with the return of sockeye and chinook salmon to the region. So far, 160 sockeye have arrived. That’s down from the hundreds that showed up last year.
Annie Morrison is an intern at Idaho Rivers United, which organized the event. She says festival goers got a chance to see salmon spawning.
“And thats really awesome and it teaches people a lot about what's going on and why salmon are important and what's happened to them," Morrisson says.
Sockeye salmon are nearly extinct for a number of reasons including dams, farming, mining and overfishing in the ocean. Both Salmon River Chinook and Sockeye are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The festival is an annual event to educate people about Idaho’s salmon that travel 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean and swim back to central Idaho.