Runners to Follow Snake River Salmon 120 Miles in Two Days

snake river trail head photo

Photo credit: D Guisinger/Creative Commons

Every year salmon swim up the Snake river, struggling over 900 miles and up 7,000 vertical feet to their spawning grounds—the highest in the world and among the most important in North America. Before the construction of dams down the length of the river, as many as 30 million fish made the annual journey.

This year, two runners will accompany the salmon—running 120 miles along the Snake river over the course of two days in an effort to highlight the limited access the fish now have to their historical spawning grounds.Luke Nelson and Ty Draney—one a member of the US Ski Team and the other a seasoned ultramarathon runner—will begin in the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness on September 30 with a plan to cover 75 miles in the first day. In total, they plan to cover 130 miles in two days, more than four consecutive marathons.

"The migration of wild salmon, particularly to the Snake River Basin, is truly unique," said Luke Nelson, "no other salmon migrates farther or higher. We hope our adventure will raise awareness about these amazing fish and the threats they face."

Historically, the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness was a refuge for spawning salmon but today this area remains blocked by three downstream dams. Activists have been working with officials to implement alternatives that would free the river while meeting the state's energy needs but progress has been slow.

Find out more about the Snake river and the epic run at Wild

Read more about salmon:
Over 9 Million Sockeye Salmon Mysteriously Disappear from Fraser River
Atlantic Salmon Returns to Credit River After 100-Year Absence
Volcano-Stimulated Rebound Of 2010 Salmon Run Challenges Anti-Science Environmentalism

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