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Salmon take the spotlight Sunday

Hundreds expected at annual Multnomah Falls festival

Talking about salmon is one thing — seeing them is quite another, says Chris Gorsek, geography and criminal justice instructor at Mt. Hood Community College.Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY CHRIS GORSEK - The annual Salmon Festival is expected to draw several hundred folks to Multnomah Falls, where they will learn about its importance to our region.

That’s one reason the college and the U.S. Forest Service host the annual Salmon Festival, which is expected to draw several hundred folks to Multnomah Falls, 50000 E .Historic Columbia River Highway, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26.

“I think it generates interest in salmon that you just don’t get with static displays, classroom presentations or even videos,” says Gorsek, the festival’s chief organizer. “Seeing salmon in the wild really seems to get people thinking about salmon and nature in a new, positive and different way. This approach creates a real connection between people and the fish and nature.”

The family-friendly festival will feature displays and activities about wild salmon in our region with the main emphasis on outreach to children. There will be displays and information for all age groups, and speakers include Native American Storyteller Ed Edmo, Mt. Hood Community College Fisheries staff and geography students, and the Friends of Multnomah Falls with games and wooden cookies for children to decorate.Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - The Salmon Festival offers numerous activities. In this 2013 photo, Forest Service Ranger Nicole LaGioia, second from left, works ona an activity table alongside a Friends of Multnomah Falls volunteer with two geography students from Mt. Hood Community College.

Other personnel on hand include staff from the Forest Service, as well as Barney the Dog, the Mt. Hood Mascot.

Gorsek says the festival draws folks interested in salmon and tourists who happen to be passing through that day.

“We will have salmon — deceased hatchery fish — that our college Fisheries Department personnel will be using to educate people on their anatomy as well as discussing other biological aspects of a salmon’s life,” he says. “My geography students will be on hand to give out various sets of information on salmon to attendees, both for kids and adults, and talk to people who are viewing the live fish in the stream spawning. They’ll help children make their own salmon T-shirts by painting rubber molds and rolling them onto the shirts.”

The Friends of Multnomah Falls will offer children’s games and crafts.

“Kids can make wooden salmon cookies or buttons,” Gorsek says.

Meanwhile, Edmo will present two story times related to Native American culture and salmon in the main lodge.

Gorsek says the festival inspires a lot of curiosity among attendees.

“Much of the time people are surprised to see large salmon in such a small stream, and they ask a lot of questions related to how they got there and what their lifecycle entails,” he says.

To get to Multnomah Falls from Gresham, take Interstate 84 East to exit 31 — an unusual left-side exit ramp — and turn into the parking area. Follow the path under the highway to reach the viewing area.

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