We live at the confluence of three beautiful rivers — the Snake, the Columbia and the Yakima. Because there’s water everywhere we look, it’s highly possible that we take the abundance for granted and the benefits it brings. In this drought, especially, let’s be grateful for our waters.
Mention a river, and a fisherman’s thoughts turn to what may be swimming there. But salmon survival goes far beyond an occasional hook launched from the shore. Thanks to a fish-friendly water slide installed 10 years ago at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River, fish survival is enhanced. The spill weirs installed by the Army Corps of Engineers have been an intelligent investment in helping salmon pass through the system. The fish win and our region wins with continuing low-cost hydropower, barging of Northwest goods and recreation. After a decade, it’s crystal clear that fish, commerce and power can co-exist. In our region where we live and play, there’s thankfulness — including more than one fisherman.
New Miss Tri-Cities
In the summertime, our rivers are quite the drawing card for visitors and residents alike, splashing in their waters, picnicking on their shores. Perhaps nothing reels folks in like our July Tri-City Water Follies and its yearly kickoff event. Featured last weekend were nine beautiful and talented young women. All vying for the 2015 Miss Tri-Cities crown, the entrants danced, sang, strutted and smiled their way to the end of the program, when Maeloni Ogle was crowned. The journey to pageant night took a lot of training and preparation to win, and this Columbia Basin College student is prepared to begin her role as our ambassador during Water Follies weekend. We are certain Maeloni will make a big splash with everyone she meets — and we’re grateful for her welcoming smile.
How to get to the other side of the Yakima River from Duportail Street is a question now answered. Thanks to $20 million from the state, the city of Richland has a head start on a proposed bridge. There still needs to be more money raised, $15 million to $18 million, but Public Works Director Pete Rogalsky is confident it can happen. In the meantime, the city is already buying property for right of way for the bridge. When the money is available in 2017, Richland plans to be “good to go.” And what driver won’t be thankful for the expansive bridge across the river? Once it is built, they will come.
Going to camp may bring visions of tents and sleeping bags, but for some local kids, there was a twist recently. They would be spending their nights at home, so no traditional camping gear was required. Instead, boys and girls found adventure in kayaks, safely settled onto the grass at Leslie Groves Park in Richland near the Columbia River. It was one of five daylong camps offered by the Reach center. There was instruction — and a life vest — to help participants develop their skills in kayak paddling before launching with Columbia Kayak Adventures. We say it’s never too early to appreciate the adventure our waterways can bring — or to learn how to pitch a tent.