By Jim Stanford on May 30, 2012
For a community that venerates its mountaineering heritage, surprisingly little attention is given to the history of running the Snake River.
That will change Saturday at Summit on the Snake, when longtime guide and outfitter Wayne Johnson gives a presentation on early attempts to navigate the Snake, including the first descent of the entire river by adventurer Amos Burg in 1925.
Put on by the Snake River Fund and now in its 14th year, the summit is a daylong educational symposium dedicated to the wildlife, history and ecology of the Snake. Speakers will give presentations on Yellowstone Lake and Flat Creek, risk management and in-depth looks at beavers and raptors. A complete schedule is posted on the Snake River Fund website.
The event is open to casual river enthusiasts but is especially valuable for fishing, whitewater and scenic float guides, who can pass on knowledge to their clients. Cost is $30, which includes light breakfast and lunch. There will be a raffle for river gear and other prizes. Afterward, The Mountain Pulse is throwing a Guides ‘n’ Gapers party at The Bird.
Breakfast and registration begin at 8 a.m. Speakers start at 9. Register at the door or by calling the fund at 307-734-6773.
Ken Thomasma, author of The Truth about Sacajawea, will discuss the 15-year-old Shoshone mother’s contributions to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Jason Jones, program director of Teton Raptor Center, will give an overview of birds of prey commonly seen along the Snake, as well as tips to differentiate bald eagles from osprey and golden eagles, for instance. Sue Consolo Murphy, chief of science and resource management for Grand Teton National Park, will discuss bears, moose and other wildlife found in the park.
Author and mountaineering guide Tom Turiano will give a presentation on packrafting, which is gaining popularity around the region.
The summit will cover some controversy, too. Marv Hoyt of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition will discuss how selenium poisoning from phosphate mining has caused deformities such as two-headed trout in tributaries of the Snake downstream of Jackson Hole. Attorney Tracy Knutson will talk about “Maximizing Adventure by Minimizing Risk,” based on an examination of 35 deaths on the Arkansas River in Colorado over 10 years.
For more information, visit snakeriverfund.org.