Bear Creek Salmon Festival – Top USA Festivals


North Mountain Park, 620 N Mountain Avenue First Saturday in October

Salmon are integral to Pacific Northwest culture and have been for millennia; returning to their natal streams to spawn, the five species of Pacific salmon have historically been the engines that drove entire ecosystems, their staggering abundance barely imaginable by a modern society that bears witness to the many fragmentary populations of wild salmon that persist today in the watersheds of California, Oregon, and Washington. Southern Oregon’s Rogue River watershed hosts annual runs of spring and fall chinook salmon and coho salmon (as well as steelhead).

Bear Creek Salmon Festival – Top USA Festivals Photo Gallery

The Bear Creek Salmon Festival not only celebrates salmon and wildlife habitat but also provides a fascinating educational experience. The setting on twenty-nine-mile-long Bear Creek in North Mountain Park is ideal because annually, fall chinook salmon return here to complete their lifecycles, spawning in the small stream to produce the next generation that will ultimately, as juveniles, migrate down Bear Creek and then down the Rogue River to reach the ocean; once there, they spend two to four years at sea, growing into the behemoths that will then KJds lov^the Salmon Story Tent at the Bear Creek Salmon Festival in Ashland. return to Bear Creek.

The Bear Creek Salmon Festival (free admission) features all-ages interactive exhibits that focus on improving habitat for salmon and other species both at home and in the region. Participating exhibitors include federal, state, and local agencies, as well as a variety of conservation and activity-related organizations. Local experts provide details on a variety of related topics, such as water-conserving and pollinator-friendly gardening; Native American skills, such as traditional salmon cooking and basket making; fly fishing and fly tying; and of course lots of details about salmon and salmon habitat. Kids love the Salmon Story Tent and Salmon Spiral Labyrinth; and all ages are fascinated by the live bird of prey exhibit and talks by the members of Wildlife Images, a wildlife rehabilitation and education center located in nearby Grants Pass. The lineup of activities and exhibitors varies a bit from year to year (check the event website), but the enthusiasm and congeniality at this event never wavers. Throughout this one-day festival, local musicians provide entertainment and food is available from local vendors.

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